News Release

Jan. 14, 2016
PNM and local community formally dedicate new natural gas-fired power plant in Valencia County

40-megawatt La Luz Energy Center provides enough energy to power 25,000 average homes


Valencia, N.M.:  Today, PNM and local public officials formally dedicated the new La Luz Energy Center which recently came online. La Luz is a 40-megawatt natural gas power plant that at peak operation can produce enough energy to power 25,000 average homes. It is located in Belen, N.M. in Valencia County.

"La Luz is one of the cleanest natural gas-fired plants serving PNM customers and it is also water efficient," said Ron Talbot, Senior Vice President and Chief Operating Officer for PNM Resources. "The plant is an important addition to the electric system, and it is an investment that will continue to support the economic vitality of this region for years to come."

Construction of the $56 million plant created 150 temporary local jobs. It will generate an estimated $562,000 annually in tax revenue for Valencia County.

The La Luz Energy Center features a gas turbine capable of reaching full power within ten minutes, allowing PNM to respond even more quickly to increased demand for electricity, such as during hot, summer afternoons. Power from the plant can also be used when other generators are offline or if there are sudden changes in output from wind or solar plants.

Community concerns were carefully considered on topics including the location of the facility, including water, noise, dust, lighting and air emissions prior to building the energy center. PNM implemented a dark skies lighting design to reduce light pollution, sponsored a water quality fair to reassure residents about the protection of groundwater quality, and collaborated with the county to pave a mile of dirt road leading to the facility.

The site was carefully chosen after an evaluation of multiple options that were offered as part of a competitive bidding process. Valencia County approved the site development.

La Luz Energy Center is adjacent to existing PNM facilities and two major natural gas pipelines, further reducing costs to our customers.

With headquarters in Albuquerque, PNM is the largest electricity provider in New Mexico, serving more than 500,000 customers in dozens of communities across the state. PNM is a subsidiary of PNM Resources, an energy holding company also headquartered in Albuquerque. For more information, visit