After reading the Associated Press article in Friday’s Daily Record about the closing of San Juan Power Station, the numbers referenced did not add up for me. The plant was recently upgraded with scrubbers that made the San Juan coal fired power plant the cleanest in the U.S. That was paid for by the ratepayers of the electricity generated for the western half of New Mexico, eastern part of Arizona and the southern part of Utah. For political reasons, the governor’s new Energy Transition Act (ETA) signed by her in 2019 required the plant to close before the arbitrary 2040 zero emission schedule.
The first number that doesn’t add up is the rush to close the plant by 2022 when there are still 20 years of cheap electricity that could still come from the plant before the 2040 ETA deadline. The cost to upgrade with carbon capture as stated was (approximately) $5 billion dollars at the low end of the modeling scale or to replace the electricity with wind and solar and natural gas backup for (approximately) $5.4 billion dollars, also at the low end of the same modeling projections.
Both costs could be avoided or deferred and save the ratepayers and the taxpayers (subsidy cost to the state) to close San Juan and replace with renewables.
The second number that is missing in the political equation is the cost to the ratepayers and taxpayers if the plant is not shut down in the next 20 years.
Basically, there would be a saving of (approximately) $10 billion dollars by not closing down the San Juan Power Station and continue to provide cheap electricity to three states and continued jobs for the local population for at least another 20 years.
In the mean time, prepare your budgets to allow for substantial rate increases over the next 20 years and beyond when the utilities have to replace the alternative renewable wind and solar hardware.
My vote is to leave the San Juan Power Station as is for the next 20 years and invest in more cost effective and innovative power sources like carbon capture methane free natural gas and clean nuclear to meet the zero emission requirement of the ETA 2040 schedule.