San Juan Generating Station

From Global Energy Monitor

San Juan Generating Station is a 924-megawatt (MW) coal-fired power station operated by Public Service Company of New Mexico near Waterflow, New Mexico.


The undated satellite photo below shows the power station in Waterflow.

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Plant Data


According to Enchant Energy's website in January 2022, the plant's owners, rounded to the nearest percent, were PNM (66%), Tucson Electric Power (20%), the City of Farmington (5%), Los Alamos County, NM (4%) and Utah Associated Municipal Power Systems (4%).[7]

Unit closures

Units 2 and 3 were closed in December 2017.[8] Units 1 and 4 were potentially scheduled for closure in 2022, when the coal supply agreement was set to expire. In March 2018, an explosion at unit 1 rendered it inoperable.[9]

Coal Retirement

In 2013, Public Service Company of New Mexico filed for approval to decommission two of the San Juan Generating Station's coal-burning stacks by 2017 (units 2 and 3), and install nitrogen-oxide emission reducing technology on the remaining two by 2016 (units 1 and 4).[10]

PNM planned to build a natural gas peaking station in San Juan County to generate 177 MW during high-demand periods, and a 40 MW solar generation station.[10]

On July 3, 2017, the Public Service Company of New Mexico (PNM) filed an Integrated Resource Plan with the New Mexico Public Regulatory Commission (PRC) concluding that the Most Cost Effective Portfolio for the future operations of PNM included the full retirement of San Juan Generating Station in 2022.[11]

In December 2017, Units 2 and 3 were retired. Since the shutdown had been planned since 2015, no layoffs were made due to the closure. Plans to close the remaining two units at the end of 2022 were approved. reported on November 13, 2020, that the San Juan Generating station would permanently close in June 2022 and would be replaced by 650 MW of solar capacity and feature 300 MW/1200 MWh of accompanying energy storage divided over several projects in the state.[12]

Carbon-capture plans

In 2019, the City of Farmington announced it had signed an agreement with Acme Equities LLC, a New York-based private holding firm that focuses on North American energy assets, that would keep the San Juan Generating Station open after 2022. Farmington had been working to find an operator for the San Juan Generating Station after PNM announced plans to close it by 2022.[13]

In 2020, PNM received state regulatory approval to drop its stake in the plant. In June 2021, it was still being reported that the plant could operate for several years beyond 2022 as new owners were raising funds for a giant carbon-capture facility on the site. Enchant Energy, which was buying the plant from PNM, was expecting to need more time to convert the facility into a carbon-capture plant according to various reports. Thus, the carbon emitting facility could run as is through 2025, according to the Albuquerque Journal. However, the Enchant team was reportedly having trouble raising all the money it needed for the conversion project. Some reports have put the price tag at about US$1.4 billion.[14]

A May 2021 report by the Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis (IEEFA) noted that over the previous two years, it had become clear that the project by Enchant Energy and the City of Farmington to extend the life of the plant were in serious trouble.[15]

In August 2021, the Energy and Policy Institute also reported that (1) the Department of Energy increased its share of the costs to study a carbon capture proposal at the San Juan Generating Station in the final week of the Trump administration, (2) Enchant had focused its spending on lobbyists for additional subsidies from Congress, federal agencies, and the state of New Mexico, and (3) environmental and Native groups demanded the federal government complete an Environmental Impact Statement before continuing to fund the carbon capture proposal.[16]

According to the Enchant's website, the final stage of the site-specific front-end engineering and design (FEED) study, the costing and engineering, procurement and construction contract negotiations were set to kickoff in January 2022. The FEED study package, including final engineering drawings, was reportedly on track to be completed by end of June 2022.[17]

Energy Transition Act

In January 2022, a New Mexico Supreme Court decision allowed for the issuance of $361 million in bonds by the Public Service Company of New Mexico (PNM) that would cover the costs of abandoning the coal-fired San Juan Generating Station. PNM said the court concluded that the Legislature acted within its authority and the court affirmed that PNM’s plan to abandon and securitize its transition out of the San Juan coal plant was consistent with the Energy Transition Act.[18]

Emissions Data

  • 2006 CO2 Emissions: 13,054,091 tons
  • 2006 SO2 Emissions: 14,980 tons
  • 2006 SO2 Emissions per MWh:
  • 2006 NOx Emissions: 27,503 tons
  • 2005 Mercury Emissions: 683 lb.
Coal Ash Contamination in New Mexico.


The plant's operator in April 2011 stated that the plant had outperformed proposed federal limits on mercury emissions. The coal-fired power plant's mercury emissions dropped to 66 pounds in 2010, down from 496 pounds in 2006 after a scrubber was installed at the plant.[19]

Articles and Resources


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 "Form 10-k 2019, page 164,", accessed June 2020
  2. "TEP Integrated Resource Plan," TEP, accessed June 2020
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 "Form 10-k 2015," investis, accessed June 2020
  4. "San Juan Unit 3," scppa, accessed June 2020
  5. "EIA 923 March 2020," EIA 923 2020.
  6. "Preliminary Monthly Electric Generator Inventory (based on Form EIA-860M as a supplement to Form EIA-860) - U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA)". Retrieved 2021-12-29.
  7. "San Juan Generating Station," Enchant Energy, accessed January 2022
  8. Megan Petersen, "Officials mull options as San Juan Generating Station closure looms," Daily Times, December 22, 2017
  9. Donovan Quintero,"Explosion reported at San Juan Generating Station," Navajo Times, March 19, 2018
  10. 10.0 10.1 Dan Schwartz, "PNM files to decommission San Juan Generating Station's two stacks: Company expects to hear ruling on filings by end of 2014," The Daily Times, December 27, 2013
  11. "City of Farmington Announces It Will Initiate and Pursue Collaborative Efforts Toward Goal of Extending Life of San Juan Generating Station," City of Farmington website, August 1, 2017
  12. "EGEB: Solar and storage replaces New Mexico coal plant,", November 13, 2020
  13. "Farmington announces agreement to keep San Juan Generating Station open," Daily Times, February 23, 2019
  14. "San Juan coal plant stays open for CCS conversion," Power Engineering, June 16, 2021
  15. "Where’s the Beef? Enchant's San Juan Generating Station CCS Retrofit Remains Behind Schedule, Financially Unviable," IEEFA, May 2021
  16. "Enchant Energy spent more on lobbying than planning its coal carbon capture project,"] Energy and Policy Institute, August 18, 2021
  17. "Progress Update for San Juan Generating Station Carbon Capture Project," Enchant Energy, accessed January 2022
  18. "State's high court upholds ETA, PNM's plan to abandon San Juan Generating Station," Daily Times, January 11, 2022
  19. "Mercury no issue at coal plant," Chuck Slothower, The Daily Times, April 4, 2011

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