N.M. Public Regulation Commission Approves Solar Projects

PNM Resources says that the New Mexico Public Regulation Commission has approved 22 MW of utility-scale solar power facilities in New Mexico. Regulators capped the cost of the projects at $101.7 million. Construction of the projects is expected to be completed by the end of 2011.

PNM plans to file for recovery of those costs through a rate rider that would be implemented one year after new the PNM rates – which are currently under consideration – become effective. Costs incurred by a New Mexico utility that are consistent with an approved renewable energy plan are deemed reasonable and recoverable in rates under state law.

The approval modifies a hearing examiner's recommendation that rejected PNM's entire renewable energy plan that called for adding 80 MW of solar power, including 45 MW of utility-scale facilities. In addition to approving the smaller solar utility-scale plan, the commission approved a plan to build a 0.5 MW solar power and storage demonstration project that is partially funded by a grant from the U.S. Department of Energy.

In addition, the commission modified other residential and business customer initiatives that could add solar power to New Mexico's energy mix and to help meet the state's renewable portfolio standard of 10% by 2011.

SOURCE: PNM Resources

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