News Release

June 18, 2014
PNM Moves Ahead with Natural Gas Power Plant

Albuquerque: PNM is moving ahead with the development of the La Luz Energy Center, a 40-megawatt natural gas power plant to be located five miles southwest of Belen in Valencia County. State regulators gave the project the green light today. 

"La Luz will enhance our ability to cost-effectively maintain reliable service to our customers under a variety of operating conditions," said PNM Vice President of Generation Chris Olson.

The 60-acre plant site is adjacent to existing PNM transmission facilities and two major interstate natural gas pipelines, helping to keep costs down. The plant will feature the best available air pollution control technology, making La Luz among the cleanest fossil fuel generators serving PNM customers, and uses no more water than an average 10-acre farm, according to Olson.

Construction is set to begin later this year and will be complete in early 2016. Wellhead Construction, Inc., a company specializing in natural gas plant development and operation, was selected through a competitive bid process to engineer and construct the facility.  Wellhead will use local contractors and materials to the extent possible, said Olson.

The plant will cost $56 million to construct and provide new property tax revenue for Valencia County.

The N.M. Public Regulation Commission granted a Certificate of Public Convenience and Necessity for PNM to build the plant today. The Valencia County Commission approved development of the site last year after receiving input from the public.

Olson expressed the company's appreciation to community members for their input and participation in the La Luz Search Conference and the Community Advisory Committee.

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