New, innovative technologies like hydro-pumped power storage and emerging battery systems could help Public Service Company of New Mexico power the grid in coming years as it works to transition to 100% carbon-free generation by 2040.
Those and other novel technologies are being considered as part of the company’s triennial efforts to develop a new Integrated Resource Plan that looks out 20 years into the future.
The utility files an IRP with the state Public Regulation Commission every three years to determine the most cost-effective, reliable and environmentally friendly mix of energy resources for the grid over two decades, with an immediate, four-year action plan to begin moving forward. That provides a guideline for the future that’s adjusted every three years in new IRPs to reflect changes in energy markets and generation technologies.
PNM began working in July on this year’s IRP, which will be filed with the PRC next summer, holding open meetings to get public input as it develops the plan.
PNM executives say this IRP process is critically important because it covers the same 20-year period in which the utility is embarking on the most comprehensive overhaul of the grid in decades to meet state mandates included in the new Energy Transition Act, which took effect in June. The ETA calls for a foundational transformation in electric generation to eliminate all carbon-emitting resources by 2045, with at least 80% of electricity coming from renewables such as solar, wind and power-storage systems.