Community & Environment
Creating Value for Customers and Communities
We’re committed to strengthening the communities we serve by helping others and making a difference in the lives of our customers. We provide power to more than 761,000 homes and businesses in 60 communities throughout New Mexico and Texas. Our employees live, work and raise their families in these communities and we are proud to give back through investments that include grants, charitable contributions and employee volunteer time focused on supporting education, economic development and the environment.
PNM Resources Inc. has a demonstrated commitment to build productive relationships with stakeholders, including customers, regulators, legislators and interveners through outreach, collaboration and various community-oriented programs.
Building off work that began in 2008, PNM has continued outreach efforts to connect low-income customers with nonprofit community service providers offering support and help with such needs as utility bills, food, clothing, medical programs, services for seniors, and weatherization. In 2015, PNM hosted 38 assistance fairs throughout its service territory to help low-income customers. The PNM Good Neighbor Fund provided $428,046 in utility bill support to 3,554 families in 2015.
The PNM Resources Foundation helps nonprofits become more energy efficient through Reduce Your Use grants. The Foundation awarded $250,000 to support 54 projects in New Mexico to fund investments in energy efficiency. The Foundation awarded $500,000 in Power Up Grants in 2015 to nonprofits in New Mexico and Texas for projects ranging from creating community gathering spaces to revitalizing neighborhood parks to building a youth sports field. The new grant program is designed to help nonprofit organizations build more vibrant communities.
In Texas, community outreach is centered first on local relationships, specifically with community leaders, nonprofit organizations and key customers in areas served by TNMP. Community liaisons serve in each of TNMP's three geographic business areas, reaching out and ensuring productive lines of communication between TNMP and its customer base.
TNMP maintains long-standing relationships with several key nonprofit organizations, including agencies that support children and families in crisis, food banks, environmental organizations and educational nonprofits, through employee volunteerism and corporate support. TNMP also actively participates in safety fairs and demonstrations in addition to supporting local chambers of commerce in efforts to build their local economies.
TNMP's energy efficiency program provides unique offers to multiple customer groups, including residential, commercial, government, education and nonprofit customers. These programs not only enable peak load and consumption reductions, particularly important when extreme weather affects Texas' electric system, but they also demonstrate TNMP's commitment to more than just delivering electricity by partnering with customers to optimize their energy usage.
We are committed to protecting our environment, supporting the advancement of clean renewable energy, promoting energy conservation measures and reducing our carbon footprint. Our focus on environmental stewardship encourages the utilization of renewable and sustainable resources and seeks to preserve and protect the beautiful lands we serve. We engage in efforts that support energy sustainability, environmental conservation and stewardship of our natural resources by:
- Energy efficiency programs.
- Land restoration, such as recovery of an area after a natural disaster.
- Preservation of natural ecosystems and wildlife.
- Programs that increase environmental education and awareness of key resource issues.
- Beautification and enhancement of communities through tree planting and community clean up.
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has initiated greenhouse gas regulations under the Clean Air Act. PNM Resources has played an active role in advocating for federal climate change legislation and has taken actions to reduce the carbon emissions associated with its energy production. We have several programs to reduce or offset greenhouse gases.
In anticipation of these regulations and to comply with regional haze regulations, PNM Resources developed a plan for San Juan Generating Station (SJGS) that addresses federal haze regulations under the Clean Air Act.
The New Mexico Public Regulation Commission approved an agreement Dec. 16, 2015, for San Juan Generating Station (SJGS). The agreement between PNM and various parties will result in the closure of two of the four coal-fired units at SJGS by Dec. 31, 2017, the installation of emissions control technology on the remaining units and other environmental and customer benefits to address compliance with federal visibility regulations under the Clean Air Act. The approval also allows for significant customer savings thanks to a new coal supply contract with Westmoreland Coal Company.
The approved agreement will also aid New Mexico's ability to comply with the EPA's Clean Power Plan, which imposes limits on carbon emissions. The closure of SJGS Units 2 and 3 and the installation of the Selective Non-Catalytic Reduction equipment on the remaining two units are expected to reduce water use and seven different emissions (including carbon) at SJGS by approximately 50 percent. PNM will replace the retired generation capacity with solar, low-emission natural gas and existing zero-emission nuclear power.
Environmental Management Systems
Our Environmental Management System has made PNM Resources a leader in the utility industry for minimizing and mitigating environmental impacts of utility work for well over a decade. When our employees are out in the field keeping the electric system reliable, one of their top priorities is protecting New Mexico’s and Texas’ environmental and cultural resources.
Employees must monitor their work through the Environmental Management System process before any kind of maintenance or construction field work is conducted. They screen for a variety of issues including:
- Habitat and threatened and endangered species issues.
- Water and riparian area sensitivities.
- Cultural resources.
- Hazards such as leaking underground storage tanks and landfills.
- Federal, state and local jurisdictional triggers.
If an environmental issue is identified, the PNM Resources Environmental Services Department reviews the screening forms and works with operations staff on next steps to ensure the work is done with the proper environmental precautions, stipulations and potential permits for the work to proceed. This work has helped us establish a significant database of New Mexico’s and Texas’ environmental and culturally sensitive areas which is graphically displayed as Hot-zones or Hot-wings using Geographic Information System software. In these areas, construction and maintenance activities are conducted in accordance with special stipulations specific to the type of resource of concern.
Our power plants have International Organization for Standardization (IS0) certified environmental management systems that are audited annually by external auditors. An environmental management system enables us to develop and implement a policy and objectives that take into account legal and other requirements about significant environmental aspects. It identifies environmental issues we can control and those which we can influence. It’s a tool we use to establish, implement, maintain and improve environmental policy, and to demonstrate conformity with ISO 14001:2004.
Wildlife Protection Programs
Our service areas in Texas and New Mexico are home to hundreds of avian species. Utility structures are places that birds naturally find to roost, nest or find protection from inclement weather. Unfortunately birds and electricity don’t always mix. While birds can sit on power lines and be safe, if they happen to touch energized conductors and/or grounded equipment, such as a transformer bank, they can be electrocuted.
Since 2010, the company has bird-guarded more than 5,000 poles. The program focuses on minimizing the numbers of birds killed or injured by our system. All bird-guarded distribution feeders have seen a decline in those numbers.
We are the founder and ongoing sponsor of the New Mexico Avian Protection Working Group, in conjunction with Hawks Aloft, New Mexico Game and Fish, the Rural Utility Service, and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. The group trains co-ops and other utilities throughout the Southwest on avian protection best practices. The company is a charter member of the Avian Power Line Interaction Committee (APLIC), a national organization of utility industry biologists and standards engineers, and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. APLIC has developed and published Suggested Practices for Avian Protection on Power Lines, which reflects the state of the art in avian protection practices.
We have had corporate wide solid waste reduction goals for over a decade. Our facilities recycled approximately 9,015 tons of office and construction materials, meeting a fifth multiyear solid waste reduction goal in the last decade. A total of 52,653 tons of processed fly ash from the San Juan Generating Station was sold for reuse in cement production. The resources saved through this recycling are equivalent to conserving 4,055 households' energy consumption, 71,052 barrels of oil or 3,322,732 gallons of gasoline.
More than 58,502 metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent emissions were reduced from PNM Resources Inc. operations as a result of our recycling efforts. This reduction in carbon dioxide emissions is equivalent to annual emissions from 12,316 passenger vehicles or conserving 6,582,858 gallons of propane used for home.
We were named Large Business Recycler of the Year in 2013 by the New Mexico Green Chamber of Commerce.
Here’s some of what we recycled by the numbers:
- 8,764 tons of metal.
- 1,101 tons of wood.
- 44 tons of mixed recyclables.
- 9 tons of office furniture.
- 420 tons of paper.
- 293 tons of used oil.
- 82 tons of e-waste.
- 19 tons of grey water.
- 4,935 tons of green waste.
- 3 tons of plastic.
Refrigerator Recycling Program
The Refrigerator Recycling Program that we offer to customers recycled approximately 723 tons of metal, glass, plastic and insulating foam.
The Green Team
The PNM Resources’ Green Team is a grass-root, companywide employee organization where each facility focuses on reducing, reusing and recycling to reducing environmental impact. Employees at each facility develop programs and practices that make sense for each location. Members meet monthly to share successes, tips and tools with other teams. Some of their activities include:
- Adopting a "resource stream" (cardboard, batteries, wood) and ensure it is recycled properly.
- Adopting a dumpster and estimate contents before pickup (for waste metrics).
- Adopt a recycling container and provide metrics.
- Developing junk mail-elimination programs.
- Reducing paper usage, changing habits by setting printers to default and always print two-sided.
- Encouraging alternatives to paper plates and cups.
- Ensuring unused office supplies go to a worthy nonprofit organization.
Renewable Energy Expansion
PNM Resources has made significant investments in renewable energy. When you combine PNM solar, wind and geothermal resources, PNM is now delivering enough renewable energy to power 150,000 average homes, reducing carbon dioxide emissions by the equivalent of taking more than 200,000 cars off the road.
PNM Resources has invested nearly $270 million in company owned, large scale solar energy centers to provide clean energy to our customers. Today, we have a million solar panels at 15 solar energy centers providing 107 megawatts of energy, enough to power 40,000 average homes in one year.
Renewable Energy Storage
Energy storage is the greatest barrier to fully realizing the potential of solar and wind energy. The PNM Prosperity Solar Energy Storage Project uses smart grid technology and batteries to smooth output and store energy for later use, helping PNM and its partners address this challenge.
Geothermal energy uses heat from below the earth's crust to create steam that turns the turbine, ultimately generating electricity. Like wind and solar, geothermal energy emits no pollutants into the air; unlike wind and solar energy, it is available to serve customers around the clock.
PNM Resources is the first customer to purchase energy from the Dale Burgett Geothermal Plant, the New Mexico’s first utility scale geothermal plant. The plant is located in the Animas Valley, about 20 miles southwest of Lordsburg, New Mexico. PNM has a long term power purchase agreement; the first phase of the project has an initial capacity of four megawatts. Development of an additional six megawatts of geothermal energy is underway.
The New Mexico Wind Energy Center was one of the world's largest wind farms when it went online Oct. 1, 2003. It is located 170 miles southeast of Albuquerque and 20 miles northeast of Fort Sumner, a windy area perfectly suited to generate electricity. Power production does not require water, produce emissions or generate solid waste. PNM and its customers purchase all of the 204 megawatts of wind energy produced.
Jan. 1, 2015, PNM began purchasing all of the wind energy from the 102 megawatt Red Mesa Wind Energy Center. It is located about 50 miles west of Albuquerque and came online in 2010. The center's 64 turbines produce the energy used by 29,000 average residences.