New Mexico utility chief among those at UN climate meeting

New Mexico

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — The head of New Mexico’s largest electric provider is in Spain this week for the U.N. climate meeting.

Public Service Co. of New Mexico announced Monday that CEO Pat Vincent-Collawn was asked to speak about how U.S. utilities are dealing with the transition away from fossil fuels for electricity generation. She is participating in a series of panel discussions that will cover topics such as greenhouse gas reductions and business perspectives.

The New Mexico utility has set a goal of being 100% emissions-free by 2040 in response to renewable energy mandates adopted by the state earlier this year that call for zero emissions by 2045.

PNM has said it was already positioned to be over 70% emissions-free by 2032 with planned exits from the San Juan Generating Station and the Four Corners Power Plant.

State regulators are currently considering PNM’s application for shutting down San Juan by 2022 and replacing it with a mix that includes natural gas-fired power plants, storage batteries and renewable sources such as solar and wind.

The utility has maintained that the transition from coal-fired generation can be done in a more cost-effective way due to the current price of renewables.

Utility executives have said residential customers would end up saving nearly $7 a month in the first year after San Juan closes under its preferred proposal. They haven’t been able to say what, if any, savings customers would see after that.

Vincent-Collawn was part of a delegation from the Edison Electric Institute, a trade association that represents companies in the United States. According to the group, its members are working to reduce carbon emissions 50% by 2030 compared with 2005 peak levels.

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