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 is the first customer to take energy from the Dale Burgett Geothermal Plant, which is located in the Animas Valley, about 20 miles southwest of Lordsburg, New Mexico. This is New Mexico's first utility-scale geothermal power plant.
PNM has an agreement for 10 megawatts of capacity. The plant has an initial capacity of four megawatts and is projected to provide the power used by 5,700 average residences in 2014.
How it works
This plant uses a closed-loop binary system where hot geothermal fluid is pumped from a deep reservoir to a heat exchanger; heat is transferred to a working fluid with a low boiling point in a separate closed-loop system. The working fluid flashes, powering the turbine. The geothermal fluid is re-injected into the reservoir to be naturally re-heated.