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first_imgNew Mexico utility says carbon capture plan too expensive, backs coal plant closure FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享Utility Dive:New Mexico’s largest utility has fleshed out its analysis of the environmental and economic impacts of carbon capture and sequestration (CCS) technology as a potential lifeline for its ailing coal plant. The results are not promising.Retrofitting the San Juan Generating Station with carbon capture technology would bring the Public Service Co. of New Mexico’s (PNM) total transition plan cost to over $6 billion, $1.3 billion more than its preferred long-term scenario, which includes retiring the plant in 2022, the utility announced Monday.PNM confirmed initial assumptions it made about the economic and environmental impracticalities of prolonging the plant’s life through the technology after state regulatory staff challenged its current retirement plan in October testimony to the state’s Public Regulation Commission (PRC). Staff argued the utility had not fully explored a carbon capture scenario in its plan to abandon the coal-fired facility early.But there are too many economic and environmental unknowns in carbon capture, according to utility spokesperson Raymond Sandoval, including downstream carbon impacts of enhanced oil recovery and the risks of investing in nascent technology. Instead, the utility thinks the plant should be retired in 2022 and its leftover costs secured through bonds, as was called for in the state’s landmark Energy Transition Act (ETA).The ongoing proceeding at the PRC is bringing to light many diverse opinions on how and when the state’s 940 MW coal-fired plant should be retired.Environmental groups and PNM agree that carbon capture is not the best option, but local group Enchant Energy is banking on the technology to extend the plant’s life. Farmington, New Mexico, where the plant is sited, recently signed an agreement with Enchant to give the company 95% ownership of the plant. But to fully transfer ownership, the company needs approval from the plant’s other four owners. PNM says it doesn’t recognize the transfer because the agreement didn’t properly assess liabilities of continuing to operate the plant.More: PNM: Carbon capture would raise San Juan transition cost to $6B, as PRC, legislator battle rageslast_img read more