Copyright © 2012 Albuquerque Journal
Geothermal energy may help power Public Service Company of New Mexico’s electric grid for the first time starting in 2014.
PNM included 10 megawatts of geothermal-generated electricity in its 2013 renewable energy procurement plan, submitted to the Public Regulation Commission on April 30.
If approved by the PRC, the utility would sign a 20-year power purchase agreement with Cyrq Energy Inc., which is investing $100 million to construct the “Lightning Dock” geothermal electric plant near Lordsburg. The plant, expected to come on line in January 2014, is the first utility-scale geothermal project under construction in New Mexico.
Including geothermal in PNM’s energy mix is important because it provides “base-load energy,” offering a steady electric supply 24/7. That helps offset the intermittent nature of solar and wind power, which shut down when the sun doesn’t shine or the wind doesn’t blow, said Gerard Ortiz, PNM’s executive director of retail regulatory services.