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El Paso Electric to diversify mix with solar and storage, maybe wind

The Lamesa solar park in Texas. Source: Southern Company (www.southerncompany.com).

December 28 (Renewables Now) - El Paso Electric (NYSE:EE) on Wednesday said it will contract 200 MW of solar and 100 MW of battery storage capacity, and also unveiled plans to buy additional wind and solar power to further diversify its mix.

The utility, operating in Texas and southern New Mexico, held a competitive bidding process in 2017 in order to meet demand for the 2022-2023 summer peak season. It estimated it would need about 50 MW of additional power generation capacity by 2022 and 320 MW by 2023.

As a result of the 2017 All Source Request for Proposals for Electric Power Supply and Load Management Resources (All Source RFP), the company will support 200 MW of utility-scale solar projects, 100 MW of battery storage and the construction of a 226-MW natural gas combustion facility. Separately, El Paso Electric said it will seek to purchase between 50 MW and 150 MW of wind and solar electricity that will add to its power mix, aiming at fuel diversity and energy cost savings.

“This balanced combination of resources will work with our existing energy portfolio as we move to retire aging, less efficient plants while continuing to meet our customers’ changing energy needs,” said president and CEO Mary Kipp.

The specific projects will be contracted after negotiations with the winning bidders have been held. The power purchase agreements (PPAs) are also subject to construction-related permits and regulatory approvals in Texas and New Mexico.

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Veselina Petrova is one of Renewables Now's most experienced green energy writers. For several years she has been keeping track of game-changing events both large and small projects and across the globe.

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