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El Paso Electric Collaborates on Solar Power Plant

June 11, 2009

El Paso Electric has signed a power purchase agreement for the full capacity of a 92-megawatt (MW) concentration solar power plant to be built in southern New Mexico's Doña Ana County. The plant will be built by NRG Energy, a Fortune 500 energy provider, and eSolar™, a leading producer of modular, scalable solar thermal power plants.

The plant will be the first commercial-scale solar thermal project in New Mexico and is expected to be operational by the summer of 2011. Once completed, the plant is expected to annually produce energy equivalent to that used by as many as 30,000 El Paso Electric residential customers.

"We're very excited about this project," said David Stevens, El Paso Electric Chief Executive Officer. "The agreement with NRG and eSolar™ demonstrates our desire to add clean, carbon-free energy to our generation portfolio for the benefit of our customers, the environment and the communities we serve."

The site will be located on approximately 450 acres of property in unincorporated Doña Ana County, four miles west of the City of Sunland Park. The land parcel is well-suited for eSolar's modular solar power tower development: it is adjacent to industrial development and does not contain sensitive cultural, biological or environmental resources. It will interconnect to an adjacent, existing 115 kilovolt El Paso Electric transmission line, avoiding additional construction.

NRG Energy has extensive portfolios of diverse generation across the southwest with plants in California and Texas. eSolar™ leverages a proprietary combination of prefabricated parts, optics and software to address hurdles often encountered in bringing solar online: price, scalability, speed of deployment and the cost of transmission system upgrades.

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