El Paso Electric Breaks Ground on $75 million addition to Rio Grande Power Generating Station

January 24, 2012

rio grande unit 9

El Paso Electric broke ground today on the addition to the area’s power generation.  EPE will be adding Rio Grande 9, a simple-cycle aeroderivative gas turbine.  The $75 million addition is expected to generate 88 to 95 megawatts of electricity, enough to power approximately 37,000 homes.

Construction of the unit will begin in late January and is expected to be completed by May 2013.

The aeroderivative technology will be 28% more fuel efficient than existing units.  It will also provide quick start and rapid load-following capabilities going from offline to fully loaded in less than 10 minutes with load following up to 50 megawatts per minute. This flexibility will assist in increasing grid stability.

“Our El Paso and Las Cruces areas have experienced tremendous growth in the past several years,” said David Stevens, El Paso Electric’s Chief Executive Officer.  “It is El Paso Electric’s responsibility to plan for this growth and make sure that we have enough power to serve all of our present and future customers.  The addition of the Rio Grande 9 unit will enhance El Paso Electric’s system reliability and will provide fuel savings through the operational efficiency of the new technology.”