EDF Renewables, a clean energy infrastructure developer and subsidiary of Electricite de France SA, announced the start of a 20-year power purchase agreement (PPA) with west Texas and New Mexico energy provider El Paso Electric (EPE). The PPA covers the output for two parts of the Milagro Solar+Storage Project. The first is a 150 MW solar park proposed by Milagro Solar I, LLC, a wholly-owned subsidiary of EDF Renewables. The second is a 75 MW battery energy storage system (BESS).
The Milagro Solar+Storage Project will sit on 1,100 acres in the Santa Teresa area of Doña Ana County, NM. It is expected to generate about 469,500 MWh of clean energy each year. According to EDF Renewables, tracker-mounted photovoltaic (PV) system blocks will convert solar energy directly to electrical power for export to the electrical grid. The tracker modules will likely sit on an aluminum rail, while the PV modules will consist of semiconductor material encapsulated in glass. The BESS container will include a transformer, monitoring, lighting, and cooling equipment. Developers are deciding whether to use a DC (direct-current) coupled or an AC (alternating current) coupled Lithium-Ion battery system.
This project moves EPE closer to its goal of producing 80% carbon-free energy by 2035 and 100% by 2045.
Since 2016, the utility provider has become increasingly inclined to adopt solar. According to Economist Impact, this was the same year EPE became the first utility in New Mexico and Texas to remove coal generation from its portfolio. Since then, EPE has constructed a 3,000 kW facility that houses its community solar program. In 2021, the energy provider issued an all-source Request for Proposal for short and long-term renewable energy projects to help meet New Mexico’s generation rules. The state requires that 40% of all utility sales in its jurisdiction be powered by renewable energy by the beginning of 2025. Economist Impact reports that EPE plans to bring online four generating units producing 715 MW of renewables by 2026.
“We are determined to continue our legacy of reliability while maintaining affordability and minimizing our environmental impact,” EPE President and Chief Executive Officer Kelly Tomblin said.
The Milagro Solar+Storage project is projected to create about 200 jobs during the peak of its construction phase and will generate an estimated $7.9 million in tax revenue during the facility’s operating lifetime. The funds will support three local school districts and the Doña Ana flood control authority, which qualifies the project for the Industrial Revenue Bond (IRB).
According to the Texas Governor’s Office, this federal program provides tax-exempt or taxable bond finance for projects that involve significant private activity promoting new and existing businesses or employment opportunities while expanding a community’s tax base.
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