Texas-Based Utility Well-Positioned for New EPA Carbon Standards: Coal-Free By 2016, Largest Solar Facility Doubles Solar Portfolio
EL PASO, Texas--(BUSINESS WIRE)--
El Paso Electric Company (EPE), a Texas-based utility servicing 395,000
customers in both west Texas and southern New Mexico, is well-positioned
for the new carbon standards proposed by the Environmental Protection
Agency (EPA). EPE will be coal-free by 2016 and, in less than one year,
has doubled its utility-scale solar portfolio, making this west
Texas-based utility a national leader in solar development.
#1MachoSprings - Largest Solar Facility in New Mexico (Photo: Business Wire)
El Paso Electric welcomes the completion and commercial operations of
Macho Springs, the largest solar facility in New Mexico. This 50
megawatt (MW) solar facility, along with an additional solar facility
that will be the largest in El Paso, Texas (10 MW and completed by the
end of the year) will expand total solar generation to 6% of EPE's
dedicated generation resources.
"Our west Texas and southern New Mexico region has the right kind of sun
for optimal solar energy production, making this region the ‘goldilocks'
in terms of climate, humidity and heat characteristics that allow us to
expand our renewable portfolio with cost-effective technologies and
reliable energy resources," said Tom Shockley, Chief Executive Officer
at El Paso Electric. "With over 300 days of sunshine every year, we are
in the perfect region for solar energy technologies, which in the long
run reduces carbon emissions and provides cleaner air."
Springs Facility - Largest Solar Facility in New Mexico:
here to download b-roll and photos of the facility.
EPE signed a 20-year purchase power agreement (PPA) with Macho Springs
Solar, LLC, owned by Southern Company subsidiary Southern Power and
Turner Renewable Energy. The facility was built and will be operated by
First Solar, a leading global provider of comprehensive photovoltaic
(PV) solar systems utilizing its advanced thin-film modules. Macho
Springs is located on a 597-acre site in Luna County, New Mexico,
between Hatch and Deming, New Mexico. The new solar facility, which is
about the same size as 300 football fields, will generate enough clean
energy to power more than 18,000 homes. This project will also displace
more than 40,000 metric tons of CO2, the equivalent of taking
7,500 cars off the road, and will displace more than 340,000 metric tons
of water consumption annually in southern New Mexico and west Texas.
"We continue to look for opportunities to add cost-effective solar
energy technologies as the price of solar energy becomes more
competitive," adds Shockley. "At the time we signed our agreement with
Macho Springs, it was the cheapest price of solar in the market. Our
commitment to building a portfolio that includes renewable technologies
complements our local, clean burning natural gas units, helping to make
overall power in our region more dependable, safer and cleaner."
Earlier in February 2014, El Paso Electric signed a 30-year PPA with
Newman Solar LLC, owned by Colorado-based juwi solar Inc. (JSI), which
will build the 10 MW solar energy facility in Northeast El Paso, Texas.
The facility is expected to go operational by the end of 2014 powering
an additional 3,800 homes.
Coal-Free by 2016
El Paso Electric has determined that it is in the best interest of its
395,000 customers not to participate in the operation of the coal-fired
Four Corners Power Plant after the plant's scheduled retirement in July
2016. EPE, which has a 7% interest in the plant, will continue to work
with the 93% owners and the Navajo Nation to facilitate their efforts to
extend the operation of the plant beyond 2016. EPE will also continue to
pursue a sale of its 7% interest in the plant.
For additional information and updates, please visit EPElectric.com
or call (915) 497-3495 for interviews.
El Paso Electric (NYSE:EE) is a regional electric utility providing
generation, transmission, and distribution service to approximately
395,000 retail and wholesale customers in a 10,000 square mile area of
the Rio Grande valley in west Texas and southern New Mexico. El Paso
Electric has a net dependable generating capability of 1,872 MW.
Photos/Multimedia Gallery Available: http://www.businesswire.com/multimedia/home/20140615005028/en/
El Paso Electric
Eddie Gutierrez, 915-497-3495
Source: El Paso Electric Company
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