Demolition and remediation of the giant San Juan Generating Station coal fired power plant with 4 units

The San Juan County Commission unanimously approved a plan submitted by the Public Service Company of New Mexico for demolition and remediation of the San Juan Generating Station on Tuesday.

The coal-fired power plant closed in September and a county ordinance required PNM to submit the plans for commission approval.

That ordinance was passed in 2021 after PNM had announced that it would be closing the power plant. There were concerns at the time that the power plant could be allowed to remain standing for decades to come. PNM had indicated to state regulators that it intended to retire the power plant in place, meaning that it would do some work to make sure the structure was safe but would not tear it down until a later date.

The county commission passed the ordinance to prevent that scenario from happening.

The entire process will likely take about four years to complete, a PNM official informed the county commission.

County Manager Mike Stark said the plan indicates the area will be leveled, with the exception of some portions such as the electric substation, and there are no proposed projects for power generation at the closed plant. One replacement power project—the San Juan Solar project—will be built near the site and will tie in to the substation.


One hopes this decision is thoroughly thought out and not too political. Is replacement power in place?

Keeping an old plant in mothballs for a while is not a bad idea. Note that coal burning has been called on in Europe after recent developments from the Ukraine war. Backups even if dirty are better than black outs.