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Six groups file to intervene in PNM’s Facebook request

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — Six parties have filed motions to intervene in the case involving a proposed Facebook data center in Los Lunas, New Mexico Public Regulation Commission documents show.

The parties that have filed motions to intervene are Western Resource Advocates, New Energy Economy, New Mexico Industrial Energy Consumers, the Renewable Energy Industries Association of New Mexico, the Coalition for Clean Affordable Energy, and the city of Albuquerque. All appear to support PNM’s proposal.

If granted intervening party status by the PRC, the organizations will be allowed to make arguments in the case, among other things.

The PRC is considering a proposal by the Public Service Company of New Mexico to provide a mechanism for providing renewable energy to the data center, which would include the construction of a solar facility. The proposal estimates the $250 million project’s first phase could bring in up to 50 jobs at the data center, as well as 250 construction jobs.

A PNM spokesman said the company had no comment on the motions.

The PRC filings appear to show that the intervening parties generally support the proposal, although some requested clarification on certain issues.

Steve Michel, attorney for Western Resource Advocates, said in an email that he may ask for more information on cost recovery and ratemaking but was in favor of the proposal overall.

“It reflects a trend that we are seeing throughout the West of large companies wanting to source their energy from clean resources,” Michel said. “That’s a great trend.”

Mariel Nanasi, executive director of New Energy Economy, said she supported the proposal but felt it left some unanswered questions. “If the Facebook project can get so much clean energy, why can’t the people of New Mexico?” she said.

Both Peter Gould, attorney for New Mexico Industrial Energy Consumers, and Jason Marks, attorney for the Renewable Energy Industries Association of New Mexico, said their organizations support the proposal.

Chuck Noble, attorney for the Coalition for Clean Affordable Energy, said in an email that his organization intervened “to keep track of the filings in the case,” but did not oppose the application.

Jessica Hernandez, attorney for the city of Albuquerque, said the city fully supports the proposal and intervened “in order to stay informed as to how to support the process of attracting this great company.”

New Mexico is in the running with Utah to be the site of the new data center. Utah’s public service commission is expected to complete its review by Aug. 31.

PNM had requested that the PRC consider waiving a public hearing in order to expedite the review process. The PRC refused and scheduled a hearing for Aug. 9.

Also Wednesday, the PRC agreed to provide a live stream of the hearing, which will be accessible on the PRC’s website.

The Los Lunas Village Council has already approved a $30 billion industrial revenue bond measure for the project, which would allow the community to receive payments from Facebook in lieu of property taxes.