NRG Energy Co.: eSolar to Develop Solar Plant in New Mexico for El Paso Electric
SANTA FE, N.M.----El Paso Electric has signed a power purchase agreement for the full capacity of a 92 megawatt (MW) concentrating solar power plant to be developed in southern New Mexico by NRG Energy, a national Fortune 500 energy provider, and eSolar, a leading producer of modular, scalable solar thermal power plants. This project is part of NRG and eSolar’s recently announced plans to develop up to 500 MW of solar thermal power in California and across the Southwestern United States.
The plant is expected to be the first commercial-scale solar thermal project in New Mexico when fully operational in the summer of 2011. The project will help deliver clean power for the growing demand in the state and support El Paso Electric’s plans for meeting New Mexico’s renewable portfolio standard. Governor Bill Richardson signed New Mexico’s aggressive renewable portfolio standard law in March 2007 and has enacted 37 incentive measures to attract renewable energy companies to the state.
“With 300 days of sun every year, a highly skilled labor force and a friendly business environment, New Mexico is well-positioned to lead the nation in solar energy production,” said New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson. “eSolar, NRG and El Paso Electric are helping us make New Mexico’s renewable energy potential a reality.”
“This plant is an excellent example of the kind of projects New Mexico and the rest of the nation need to further diversify America’s energy portfolio,” said U.S. Senator Jeff Bingaman. “I compliment El Paso Electric, NRG and eSolar for working to create green jobs in New Mexico that will help to responsibly meet our growing demand for electricity.”
“This announcement is more evidence that New Mexico is a leader in spurring the renewables revolution that will help ensure our nation’s energy security and create the jobs of the future here at home,” said U.S. Senator Tom Udall. “I want to applaud El Paso Electric, eSolar and NRG for making this impressive investment and highlighting the many benefits of implementing a renewable portfolio standard.”
The site for the development is a 450-acre property in southwest New Mexico, about 10 miles from El Paso, Texas near the City of Sunland Park.
“This project with NRG and eSolar underscores El Paso Electric’s commitment todeveloping more clean and carbon-free energy projects in the future,” said David Stevens, El Paso Electric chief executive officer. “The NRG and eSolar team made the most sense for us due to NRG’s development expertise and the scalability of eSolar’s technology.”
NRG Energy has extensive portfolios of diverse generation across the southwest with plants in California and Texas, including recently completed gas and wind developments.
“This plant will turn New Mexico sunshine into zero-carbon power that is at peak capacity when demand is the highest,” said David Crane, NRG’s president and chief executive officer. “eSolar and El Paso Electric are tremendous partners to maximize the potential of this valuable renewable resource and help efficiently meet New Mexico’s aggressive renewable portfolio standards.”
eSolar’s modular approach, which requires approximately one-quarter square mile to produce 46 MW, enables utilities of any size to incorporate solar energy at a scale specific to their needs. This unique modularity, along with a proprietary combination of prefabricated parts, optics and software, allows eSolar to address the hurdles commonly encountered in bringing solar power online: price, scalability, speed of deployment and grid impact.
“eSolar’s modular technology can be installed at any scale and in variable configurations. Combined with NRG’s resources and development expertise, eSolar’s technology is the preferred solution for environmentally responsible mid-sized utilities like El Paso Electric,” said Bill Gross, eSolar’s chief executive officer. “eSolar is proud to work with NRG and El Paso Electric to bring the benefits of clean, renewable energy to southern New Mexico.”
NRG Energy, Inc., a Fortune 500 company, owns and operates one of the country’s largest and most diverse power generation portfolios. Headquartered in Princeton, NJ, the Company’s power plants provide more than 24,000 megawatts of generation capacity, enough to supply more than 20 million homes. NRG’s retail business, Reliant Energy, serves more than 1.7 million residential, business, commercial and industrial customers in Texas. A past recipient of the energy industry’s highest honors—Platts Industry Leadership and Energy Company of the Year awards, NRG is a member of the U.S. Climate Action Partnership (USCAP), a group of business and environmental organizations calling for mandatory legislation to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. More information is available at www.nrgenergy.com.
eSolar is an Idealab company founded in 2007 to develop, construct and deploy modular, scalable solar thermal power plants. eSolar’s approach marries a low-impact, pre-fabricated form factor with advanced optics and computer software engineering to meet the demands of utilities of any size for clean, renewable and cost-competitive solar energy. By focusing on the key business obstacles that have characterized large solar installations – price, scalability, speed of deployment and grid impact – eSolar has developed a proprietary solution to make a dramatic reduction in the cost of solar thermal technology. eSolar is based in Pasadena, California. For more information please visit http://www.esolar.com/.
About El Paso Electric
El Paso Electric is a regional electric utility providing generation, transmission and distribution service to approximately 363,000 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 1,643 MW. El Paso Electric’s common stock trades on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol EE.
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