June 30, 2008
El Paso Electric
Telephone: (915) 543-5823
|Wes Reeves, Xcel Energy
Telephone: (806) 679-7773
Van Someren, Tri-State
Telephone: (303) 254-3132
State's Four Major Utilities Partner on Solar Project
Albuquerque: New Mexico's four largest electricity providers
have partnered to bring the first large-scale, commercial solar generating
plant to the state.
El Paso Electric, Xcel Energy, PNM, and Tri-State Generation and Transmission
Association today jointly issued a request for proposals (RFP) seeking detailed
proposals from solar developers for the construction of a solar parabolic trough
generation facility to provide solar electricity to each of the utilities by
The RFP outlines several requirements that a successful bid would have to
meet, which include:
- The facility must be located within New Mexico.
- The facility must use parabolic trough technology.
- Thermal energy storage is encouraged.
- The facility must be able to deliver between 211,000 and 375,000 megawatt-hours
(MWh) per year (enough to power between 29,000 and 52,000 average New Mexico
"Each of the utilities has shown tremendous leadership by coming together
as partners for renewable energy," said Pat Vincent, PNM Utilities President. "The
four of us directly or indirectly provide electricity to almost every customer
in the state."
The RFP follows a feasibility study commissioned by the utilities last year.
The study, performed by the Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI), found
that the most feasible solar technology currently available for a large-scale
New Mexico plant is parabolic trough. This technology utilizes a series of
trough-shaped mirrors to focus sunlight onto an oil-filled tube, and then uses
the hot oil to generate steam. The steam is used to turn a generator, producing
electricity. When combined with thermal energy storage, this solar technology
is capable of generating electricity at night as well as during cloudy periods.
If a viable project emerges from the RFP process, the utility partners expect
to have a contract negotiated by the end of 2008, and energy from the project
could be serving New Mexico customers by the end of 2011 pending regulatory
Parties interested in submitting a proposal can learn more about the RFP process
About El Paso Electric
El Paso Electric is a regional electric utility providing generation, transmission
and distribution service to approximately 357,000 retail and wholesale customers
in a 10,000 square mile area of the Rio Grande valley in west Texas and southern
New Mexico. EPE has a net dependable generating capability of 1,503 MW. EPE's
common stock trades on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol EE.
About Xcel Energy
Xcel Energy (NYSE: XEL) is a major U.S. electricity and natural gas company
with regulated operations in eight Western and Midwestern states. Xcel Energy
provides a comprehensive portfolio of energy-related products and services
to 3.3 million electricity customers and 1.8 million natural gas customers
through its regulated operating companies. Company headquarters are located
in Minneapolis. More information is available at www.xcelenergy.com.
PNM is a subsidiary of PNM Resources, an energy holding company based in Albuquerque,
N.M. PNM provides electric utility service to 487,000 customers and natural
gas service to 492,000 customers in New Mexico. The company also sells power
on the wholesale market in the West. PNM Resources stock is traded primarily
on the NYSE under the symbol PNM. For more information, see the company's
Web site at PNM.com.
About Tri-State Generation & Transmission
Based in Denver, Tri-State is the wholesale power supplier to 12 member electric
cooperatives in New Mexico, 18 in Colorado, eight in Wyoming and six in Nebraska,
which in turn provide electricity to more than 588,000 meters or a population
of approximately 1.4 million end-use consumers.