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Reader view: PNM should plan to replace coal and nuclear plants via Santa Fe New Mexican

Over three years ago, New Energy Economy argued that Public Service Company of New Mexico should close its expensive, dirty, and old coal and nuclear plants and move immediately to cheaper, clean and local renewable energy.

According to its recent preliminary integrated resource plan, PNM is finally admitting that its coal plants are more expensive than renewable energy sources and will be shutting down the San Juan Generating Station and Four Corners coal plants (“PNM plan would end coal power by 2031,” April 22). We should all cheer this acceptance of the facts by PNM. But much more needs to be done.

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First, PNM’s plan to shut down the coal plants takes an unreasonably long period of time, San Juan Generating Station in 2022 and the Four Corners coal plant in 2031. This plan requires ratepayers to continue to pay excessive costs to operate these highly toxic facilities for up to 14 more years. Cheaper sources of local, renewable electricity are available now.

Second, PNM has not agreed to exit its nuclear facilities in Arizona. These facilities are also more expensive, and more dangerous than local renewable energy facilities, and continue to create many tons of highly radioactive waste for which no acceptable storage solution has been developed.

PNM should be required to develop a plan for the shutdown of all of its expensive and toxic coal and nuclear facilities, in the very near future (certainly within five years), and the replacement of these facilities with less expensive, local renewable energy facilities. The estimated cost of such a shut-down, including cleanup, and the benefit of immediately lower costs to ratepayers from lower-cost, local renewable-energy facilities, should be included in the analysis and presented for public consideration.

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