El Paso Electric (EPE) welcomes the commercial operation of the last generating unit, Unit 4, at the Montana Power Station (MPS) located in east El Paso County. This marks the completion of the Montana Power Station, and together, these four generating units are capable of producing enough energy to provide electricity to more than 160,000 homes and add 352 megawatts (MW) of efficient, reliable and clean energy to our system.
Similarly to Units 1-3, MPS Unit 4 has an 88-MW turbine powered by natural gas and was completed on time and on budget. MPS Units 1 and 2 became operational in March of 2015, and Unit 3 became operational earlier this year. As expected, these units are already performing at approximately a 40% capacity factor and even higher during the summer months.
“As customer demand continues to grow, the peaking capability and quick-starting technology of these units will allow EPE to meet our customers’ energy‐demand fluctuations in an efficient and cost‐effective manner,” said Mary Kipp, El Paso Electric CEO. “Additionally, these new units are 20% to 37% more efficient than older conventional steam units, which helps keep El Paso Electric’s carbon footprint low.”
As EPE continues to make the necessary and prudent investments to meet the needs of its growing service territory, we anticipate filing new rate cases in Texas and New Mexico in early 2017. The completion of MPS Unit 4, among other investments, is prompting the need for these new rate cases.
Additionally, EPE is also looking forward to introducing new pilot programs for our customers in order to reduce peak demand and expand our renewable energy portfolio by making solar energy accessible to everyone.
In 2017, EPE will be operating its first Community Solar Program which will provide customers with the opportunity to voluntarily subscribe to solar generation from a new three megawatt (3 MW) solar facility located behind the Eastside Operation Center. In addition, EPE will be launching a new demand response pilot program which will be a voluntary subscription program that engages EPE’s customers to reduce their electricity use primarily during peak hours.