California muni ditches San Juan plant ownership to be coal free by the end of 2017
SVP’s decision to divest its stake in the controversial San Juan coal-generation station comes on the heels of a December 2015 decision by New Mexico’s utility regulators to allow PNM to continue burning coal at the coal plant while also shutting down a pair of units. Under the decision, PNM will shut down San Juan’s 375 MW unit 2 and its 544 MW unit 3 by the end of 2017, and retrofit units 1 and 4 in early 2016. The retrofitted units are supposed to be operated until 2052, and the utility will also add natural gas and solar generation.
For SVP, the decision to divest from its 10% ownership stake at the San Juan generation station will allow the muni to move toward’s California’s 50% renewables by 2030 mandate and Santa Clara’s 2020 targets of being coal-free and cutting greenhouse gas emissions 50%.
SVP now gets 36% of its electricity from renewables and its 2012 contract with the LEC anticipated a need for natural gas until adequate battery storage is available — a shift larger utilities in the state are anticipating as well.
The Southern California Edison (SCE) 2014 Local Capacity Requirement (LCR) procurement — including battery storage along with natural gas generation —proved the cost competitiveness of the storage, AES Energy Storage Southland President Jennifer Didlo recently noted.