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PNM Requests Proposals, Acknowledges the Energy Crisis

The Energy Transition Act is shaping up to create the worst energy crisis the southwest has ever seen.

On May 17, the Southwest Public Policy Institute (SPPI) released data on a comprehensive energy survey. With over 3,000 respondents, New Mexicans clearly prioritized affordable and reliable energy with 7 out of 10 preferring either affordability or reliability over the source.

Then, on May 19, SPPI commented on the looming energy crisis and how New Mexico’s largest utility provider was mandated to take action toward “renewable” energy. This is priming the state for an energy catastrophe. These mandates come from the state’s Energy Transition Act (ETA).

On Monday, PNM again acknowledged the pending rolling blackouts by issuing a formal request “asking energy developers to submit resource proposals that could add up to 700 MW to the PNM system” with in service dates on or before May 2023. This comes as PNM “expressed concerns over a potential energy shortage leading up to summer 2023”.

With the solar supply crunch limiting the utility provider’s ability to deploy “renewable” energy sources in time for peak summer demand, it is becoming increasingly clear that short-sighted energy policy is rapidly degrading reliability.

Blackouts killed Texans over the winter of 2021.

In one of the nation’s poorest states, can New Mexicans afford to replace an entire refrigerator worth of groceries?

A 700 megawatt shortage is not small. For comparison, the San Juan Generating Station coal plant in Farmington, New Mexico currently generates 847 MW and the Palo Verde Nuclear Generating Station in Arizona currently produces about 3,300 MW with a nameplate capacity of 3,937 MW.

PNM owns just over 10% of Palo Verde with immediate plans to exit the lease.

It is unclear if the 700 MW needed by PNM is meant to be intermittent sources like solar and wind, though it is likely that the requirement is for baseload power.

Also unclear is whether the 700 MW figure includes the anticipated loss of the Palo Verde capacity. PNM’s 10% equates to about 288 MW according to the PNM press release. In their official announcement, PNM was to “issue an RFP in order to replace the capacity from the leases by mid-2023”.

If the social media post did not accommodate the Palo Verde figures, this shortfall could be as high as 988 MW.

The request for proposal includes the following language:

Respondents are required to propose resource options that support PNM’s transition to a zero carbon energy future by 2040 while fulfilling PNM’s obligation to serve its customers with reliable, low cost energy, in an environmentally responsible manner.

PNM 2020 Replacement Generation RFP

Why is PNM abandoning zero carbon environmentally responsible and reliable nuclear power leading up to the 2023 energy crisis? These actions are incredibly short sighted, spurred by Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham’s energy policy.

By Patrick M. Brenner

Patrick Brenner is the founder and president of the Southwest Public Policy Institute, a limited-government research institute and think tank focused on the southwestern United States. An advocate for open government, he leads the institute's government transparency and accountability efforts.

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