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New Mexico utilities cooperate on CSP

Jul 4, 2008 -

Four major utility companies in New Mexico have issued a joint request for proposals from solar developers for the construction of a solar parabolic trough generation facility to provide solar electricity to each utility by 2012.

El Paso Electric, Xcel Energy, PNM, and Tri-State Generation and Transmission Association have outlined several requirements that need to be met. These include that the location must be in New Mexico, parabolic trough technology must be used, and the utilisation of thermal energy storage is encouraged. Finally, the facility must be able to deliver between 211,000MWh and 375,000MWh per year.

“Each of the utilities has shown tremendous leadership by coming together as partners for renewable energy,” says Pat Vincent, President of PNM. “The four of us directly or indirectly provide electricity to almost every customer in the state.”

Ahead of the request for proposals, the utilities commissioned a feasibility study from the Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI). The study found that the most feasible solar technology currently available for a large-scale New Mexico plant is parabolic trough. When combined with thermal energy storage, this technology is capable of generating electricity at night as well as during cloudy periods.

If a viable project emerges, the utility partners expect to have a contract negotiated by the end of 2008, and the energy should reach end consumers by the end of 2011 pending regulatory approvals.


Updated: 2003/07/28