The Facebook data center expansion in Los Lunas looks to be a go, with new assurances from Public Service Company of New Mexico it has no desire to skirt state regulations.
Wording on a document PNM filed earlier this month indicated the utility company had hoped to “waive” state Public Regulation Commission approval on a plan for energy storage at the center’s expansion. That troubled the commission, which placed the matter on its agenda for Wednesday.
The commission last week asked PNM for an explanation of what it meant by waiving PRC approval and also wanted a signed affidavit from the company saying it would comply with commission orders.
PNM has since submitted a document stating its “intention is solely to comply with the terms” of the PRC’s final order in the case. The PNM filing included a signed affidavit from Tom Fallgren, a PNM vice president. The affidavit said PNM’s aim is to conform with the commission’s requirements.
The confusion came over legal technicalities in which PNM sought to erase a previous proposal for an energy storage plan the commission didn’t agree to.
The commission wanted the energy storage agreement between PNM and Sky Ranch Energy Storage to be for half the amount of storage the companies had requested and said it didn’t want other customers to be charged for additional storage capacity PNM said Facebook didn’t need yet. The companies agreed to this condition.
Last week the commission talked about a potential cease-and-desist order unless PNM adequately explained what it meant by waiving the commission’s order.
PNM spokesman Ray Sandoval said, with the most recent filing, “We believe that we have done everything that the PRC” has required.
Bradford Borma, a PRC attorney, wrote in an email Monday the issue is still on the commission’s agenda for Wednesday.
“However, it appears to me that PNM has taken the steps that we recommended to clarify what they intended with their Oct. 1 compliance filing,” Borman said. “Whether the Commission finds that sufficient, we will find out Wednesday.”
Two commissioners reached for comment, Cynthia Hall of Albuquerque and Joseph Maestas of Santa Fe, declined to discuss an ongoing case. Maestas added in his text message, “I’m happy the project is going through!”