ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – Albuquerque is growing and PNM is working to keep up. PNM is looking to build a nearly 21-acre substation along the northside of Sunport Boulevard by University Boulevard.
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The substation would sit on what used to be the city’s Yale landfill which closed in the 1960s. The city has removed hundreds of thousands of tons of trash from the area since then but it’s still polluted. PNM’s application to the city shows the company decided last year that a new substation in this part of town was needed.
“Things like this are necessary,” said Eric Chavez, a PNM spokesperson. “Any time communities grow, there needs to be added electricity, right? Added power, added reliability so that customers are given electricity.”
It’s unclear just how much power the $35 million substation will provide but PNM said it’s needed for a growing southeast Albuquerque. The area could have huge development on the horizon like Mesa Del Sol and the Orion Center, an aerospace facility.
“The area and New Mexico as a whole are constantly growing, right? And that’s something we take a lot of pride in. And, we just want to make sure all customers are taken care of, making sure everyone has reliable and cost-effective power,” said Chavez.
According to application documents, the unmanned substation will also help as a backup during power outages and have little impact on traffic. Documents also say the new facility will sit behind a 14-foot high wall and will only be visible from University.
The land the substation will be on is now on Sunport’s property.
“This land is an easement between PNM and the Sunport. In exchange for the easement, PNM will be cleaning up the old landfill, creating a higher use of the land and to better serve the Sunport’s electrical needs,” said Stephanie Kitts, a spokesperson for the Sunport, in an emailed statement. She went on to say they have talked about the aesthetics of the facility for travelers coming into the Sunport and that they are not a concern.
The project will go in front of the city’s Development Review Board on Wednesday during a public meeting. PNM hopes to start construction in early 2022.