Rio Grande Foundation president Paul Gessing attended the PNM “stakeholder” meeting in Albuquerque. Here are some of his main thoughts about the first meeting:
1) As the info-graphic below illustrates (I could not find it on their website) PNM has proposed four different paths forward under the ETA. In reality only the 1st and 2nd paths are viable as the 3rd and 4th would make the electrical grid too unstable.
2) The 1st scenario is what PNM prefers and the cost would be an estimate $4.678 billion over 20 years. That comes to $233.9 million each year over 20 years. When I asked PNM how they planned to deal with those costs and reduce rates for average utility payers by $7.11 per month (presented on a separate slide) I was told that they were expecting to save $30 million/annually on fuel costs. That leaves more than $200 million in annual costs unspoken for. Where will PNM get that money? Seems like either rate payers or taxpayers are the only option, but I was not given the chance for a follow-up.
3) Under both of their preferred plans PNM plans to invest in significant natural gas power, but the also plan to be “zero carbon” by 2040. According to PNM these plants traditionally depreciate over 30 years, but they will have to depreciate them over 18. Seems like a lot of wasted money.
4) The remaining generation capacity at San Juan Generating Station is 475 Megawatts. Under the “preferred” plan PNM would like to bring 280 MW of gas and 350 MW of solar on for a total of 630. Does PNM expect demand to grow by that much? Considering that option 2 would add 476 MW of natural gas it would seem that PNM doesn’t plan for significant growth.
These are just some of our biggest questions from the meeting. Another such meeting will be held at San Juan College on July 30 although PNM seems to not do much to publicize these events on their websites.