New Mexico Bulk Transmission Permitting Process (NM)
The steps of the New Mexico bulk transmission permitting process are summarized in the chart below. Roll over each section for a summary of the regulations and permits it covers. Click a section to learn more about the required permits and regulations related to that topic.
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Bulk Transmission Development in New Mexico
A division between the Western and Eastern Interconnections exists in eastern New Mexico. Both of these major power grids are present in New Mexico. The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission’s (FERC) Open Access Transmission Tariff (OATT) system provides a working framework for the use of the transmission system in the state. The eastern third of New Mexico’s grid is operated by Southwest Power Pool, RE, a Regional Transmission Organization (RTO), while the remainder of New Mexico’s grid is coordinated by the Western Electricity Coordinating Council and balanced by PNM. PNM collaborates with the agency WestConnect to accomplish transmission planning and reliability. Through WestConnect, PNM has joined together with utilities to the west and north to address regional and inter-regional transmission cost allocation and planning requirements. While an RTO or Independent System Operator (ISO) is not present to negotiate use of the majority of the New Mexico grid, WestConnect presently fills this gap.
The Western Electricity Coordinating Council (WECC) is the Regional Entity responsible for coordinating and promoting Bulk Electric System reliability in the Western Interconnection, including in New Mexico. In addition, WECC provides an environment for coordinating the operating and planning activities of its members as set forth in the WECC Bylaws.
The goal of the Southwest Area Transmission Planning Group (SWAT) is to promote regional planning in the Desert Southwest. The SWAT provides the technical forum required to complete reliability assessments, develop joint business opportunities and accomplish coordinated planning under the single-system planning concept in the southwest area of the WestConnect Transmission Planning area. The New Mexico Transmission Subcommittee of the SWAT was formed to study the New Mexico and Southwest Texas region.
In New Mexico, there are investor-owned, independent, and municipal transmission providers, including:
- Xcel Energy that serves several municipalities in southeastern New Mexico;
- El Paso Electric that serves southwestern New Mexico;
- Tri-State G & T Assn, Inc that serves rural electric cooperatives across New Mexico; and
- PNM that serves several municipalities western New Mexico.
Renewable Energy Transmission Authority
The New Mexico Renewable Energy Transmission Authority (RETA) is a quasi-state authority established to implement the Renewable Energy Act (REA). The purpose of the REA is to encourage the generation of electricity through the use of renewable energy. RETA’s main focus is to develop and finance renewable energy related transmission projects. In addition, RETA has the authority to finance, plan, maintain, and operate eligible facilities necessary or useful for the accomplishment of the New Mexico Renewable Energy Transmission Authority Act, and can exercise eminent domain.
The executive branch state agency Energy, Minerals and Natural Resources Department is developing a State Energy Policy due to be completed in 2014.