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New Mexico PRC Adopts Plan to Replace San Juan Coal Plant with Renewables Portfolio

In 2022, New Mexico’s largest utility company will retire the San Juan Generating Station, a coal-burning power plant that has operated since 1973. In light of the decision, the state’s Public Regulatory Commission (PRC) has adopted a plan to replace the plant’s power output with 100 percent renewable energy and battery storage. The new energy portfolio aligns with the 2019 New Mexico law mandating that the state move to completely carbon-free electricity generation by 2050.

The plan is a significant victory for the community groups and environmental advocates that have pushed to expedite the clean energy transition, and our efforts helped pave the way for this decision. New Mexico PRC used the social cost of carbon (SCC) to better weigh the costs and benefits of the energy portfolio, ultimately concluding that the SCC offsets other costs of full-scale renewables replacement. As part of our engagement with New Mexico on energy policy decisionmaking in 2019, Jason Schwartz and Denise Grab testified to the PRC that applying SCC metrics would allow the PRC to effectively monetize and contextualize the climate impacts of retiring the San Juan Generating Station. Replacing the coal plant with renewables will deliver billions of dollars in benefits to agricultural productivity, property values, and human health.