New Projects, Renewables, Solar

PNM to add solar, geothermal power to generation mix

Public Service Co. of New Mexico (PNM, NYSE: PNM) plans to add geothermal energy and more solar energy to its generation mix in 2013 and 2014 in order to meet New Mexico renewable energy requirements.

PNM’s plan was submitted to the New Mexico Public Regulation Commission on April 30. It nearly doubles PNM’s ownership of solar projects and includes a proposal to continue the company’s customer-installed solar program. If the plan is apporoved, PNM will meet the state’s requirement of approximately 10 percent of retail sales be under the required cost caps and meet the renewable energy diversity requirement in 2014.

PNM would install 20 MW of additional solar capacity, likely adding photovoltaic (PV) panels to existing projects in Deming, Alamogordo and Los Lunas. The company may also build a new plant in one or two counties.

PNM would also enter into a 20-year power purchase agreement for electricity from a 10 MW geothermal power plant to be built and operated by Lightning Dock Geothermal southwest of Lordsburg, N.M. It is expected to be in service by January 2014.

PNM would set aside 9 MW for the customer-installed solar program and has submitted a program design that, if approved, would continue in effect through 2016.

PNM would also purchase in 2013 some renewable energy certificates (RECs) associated with wind and solar energy produced in New Mexico. The compliance cost of renewables for customers in 2013 is projected to be $19.7 million.

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