PRC pledges to keep the power going this summer
The Journal’s Feb. 13 editorial, “Out of Juice,” and a Feb. 10 article, “PRC Weighs How to Combat Impending Blackouts,” draw attention to a serious problem facing utilities. from the PRC and New Mexico: how to ensure grid reliability while transitioning to clean energy when pandemic-related supply chain issues prevent the construction of clean energy generation. Citing the article’s report on the PNM’s warning that it may need to use power outages this summer, the editorial’s call for future short and long-term plans for the PNM and the CPR is reasonable. Unfortunately, some claims in the editorial are not.
Since the start of the pandemic, the commission has actively investigated the financial and service challenges of New Mexico’s utilities. With respect to service issues, we opened cases for resource adequacy and global supply chain disruptions on June 23, 2021 and October 27, 2021, respectively, in which we reviewed the comments submitted. monthly by investor-owned utilities (IOUs) and rural impact cooperatives. on their availability to provide the service. We consolidated these two registers during our public meeting on February 9, in order to analyze in depth the multiple changing influences on the reliability of the service.
In this brief, we sought more in-depth information to identify possible short- and long-term solutions. It was not a better late than never push, as the Journal editorial suggests. Rather, it was part of our ongoing collaborative efforts with utilities to find solutions to pressing resource adequacy issues. Throughout this process, nearly every utility in New Mexico responded in a timely manner and was instrumental in helping us understand their needs. Contrary to the editorial’s assertion of a blame game, interactions at the commission on these issues are about mutual respect and a shared desire to find solutions.
PNM recently filed information on the firm power it has purchased for 2022 and its options, including continuing to operate the San Juan plant for an additional four months after the 2022 summer peak demand season to to provide firm capacity. Significantly, PNM CEO Pat Vincent-Collawn was quoted in California Energy Markets publication #1679 speaking to financial analysts on a PNM Resources financial update conference call on 3 February on the summer 2022 resource adequacy, stating, “But I can assure you, we have the resources covered for the summer.
Our choice of alternative resource for the closure of the San Juan Generating Station was chosen because it best fit the mandate of the Energy Transition Act of lower environmental impacts, higher capital cost ratios on the most economical fuel and recovery and reuse costs, providing an investment of nearly $900 million in the school district and county, compared to any PNM portfolio, which has at best invested $619 million. This decision was not challenged by either the MFN or the Attorney General. However, we welcome the AG’s strong interest in commission business. Last week, we approved replacement resources for the Palo Verde lease interests divested by PNM.
Currently, given PNM’s blackout warning, the Journal urges the public to be concerned, and perhaps they should be. But to say that we are facing an epic failure in the transition to a renewable grid, or that the wholesale markets are collapsing, or that the PRC has chosen the portfolio of replacement resources for the San Juan plant on a different basis than the requirements of the energy transition law, goes too far.
As weather, health and supply chain factors evolve as part of the energy transition, we remain committed to ensuring utilities provide reliable, cost-effective service.