El Paso Electric (EPE) welcomes the completion and commercial operation of the first two generating units at the Montana Power Station (MPS) located in east El Paso, Texas. The two state-of-the-art 88-megawatt (MW) simple-cycle aero-derivative combustion turbines are powered by natural gas, the cleanest fossil fuel available. The efficient aero-derivative technology provides quick start capabilities, allowing the units to go from offline to full output in less than 10 minutes, thus increasing overall power grid stability. These two units will generate enough energy to power more than 80,000 homes.
“For more than 100 years, EPE has been dedicated to the long-term success and well-being of our region,” said Tom Shockley, El Paso Electric CEO. “Several years ago, we began planning and investing to replace our less efficient plant and equipment while providing additional resources for our growing service territory. The completion of our major construction projects, including our clean-burning natural gas units and utility-scale solar generation, will efficiently provide the power necessary to meet the growing needs of our region.”
Construction of the second phase of the project includes Units 3 and 4, which is anticipated to begin later this year. When completed in 2016, these four state-of-the-art 88 MW turbines are capable of generating enough energy to provide electricity to more than 160,000 homes and add 352 MW of efficient, reliable and clean burning natural gas power.
EPE has placed in service approximately $1.3 billion in new assets over the last 6 years, including MPS Units 1 and 2 and the recently completed Eastside Operations Center.
“The vibrant, growing communities we serve in west Texas and southern New Mexico require reliable generation 24 hours a day,” said Mary Kipp, El Paso Electric President. “Our vision for providing reliable, safe, clean and affordable energy is through the addition of natural gas-fired generation and cost competitive renewables. This carefully designed mix of solar and local clean burning natural gas generation will provide the energy hardworking families and businesses in our service territory need 24 hours a day, seven days a week.”
Construction on Units 1 and 2 began in June 2014 after EPE obtained the necessary regulatory approvals from the Public Utility Commission of Texas, the New Mexico Public Regulation Commission, the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality and US Environmental Protection Agency. The first two generating units and related plant structures cost about $200 million.
El Paso Electric is a regional electric utility providing generation, transmission and distribution service to approximately 400,000 retail and wholesale customers in a 10,000 square mile area of the Rio Grande valley in west Texas and southern New Mexico. El Paso Electric has a net dependable generating capability of 2,010 MW.