ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – After landowners at Paseo and Eubank denied Public Service Company of New Mexico’s request to buy that area of land to build a substation, PNM moved just a block down the street to make it happen.
Despite heavy opposition from neighbors, PNM officially announced last week that the new Palomas Substation is a go. It is no secret how neighbors in the heights feel about the new PNM station.
If you drive down Paseo Del Norte, you can find signs all over the place that make it clear that the substation is not welcome. “The question for us still, is ‘why here?'” neighbor Sara Sternberger asked earlier this month.
While neighbors do not want to see land by their homes developed into an energy hub, PNM said it is the area’s growth that is making this move necessary. “The equipment and facilities in this area in the northeast heights of Albuquerque had reached its full capacity,” PNM spokesperson Meaghan Cavanaugh said.
Cavanaugh said thanks to increasing electrical demands, substations that currently serve the heights are beyond safe operating limits. “They would no longer be able to support any future growth we may experience in the area,” Cavanaugh said.
Now, PNM has purchased four lots of residential land at Paseo and Browning to be the home of 85-foot poles and 115-kilovolt transmission lines.
“65% of PNM substations are located within 100 feet of residential neighborhoods,” Cavanaugh said. “These facilities need to be located close by to the electric usage demand, and this site effectively helps us serve customers in the area.”
No zone change would be required for the three-and-a-half acres, just a special use permit.
While PNM does own other parcels of land, the company said none of that land, or the 16 other sites they considered, would work for this project. Certain criteria have to be met such as lot sizes, price and corridor, and crew access.
Now that the decision is made, PNM will host an open house which is a requirement to get the special use permit needed for the substation. Next, the county planning commission will have to approve. PNM hopes to complete the project by 2021.