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HomeRenewables200-MW New Mexico solar project replaces retired coal plant

200-MW New Mexico solar project replaces retired coal plant

Origis Energy and Tri-State Generation and Transmission Association have completed construction and reached commercial operation on Escalante Solar, a 200-MW PV project built on the site of the former 253-MWAC, coal-fired Escalante Station near Grants, New Mexico, which was retired in 2020.

The 200-MW Escalante Solar project reached commercial operations and started producing power on June 1. Origis Energy

“Escalante Solar helps all our members get to 50% clean energy used in 2025, while meeting the requirements of New Mexico’s Energy Transition Act five years ahead of schedule,” said Duane Highley, CEO for Tri-State. “We thank Origis Energy for their work to successfully develop Escalante Solar, and we deeply appreciate their engagement with the local community.”

Escalante Solar is now delivering enough renewable energy to power an estimated 63,000 homes, directly to Tri-State’s members, including 11 electric cooperative members in New Mexico, under a power purchase agreement with Origis Energy. The project was announced in 2020 as part of Tri-State’s Responsible Energy Plan and is located in Tri-State member Continental Divide Electric Cooperative’s service territory. In 2021, Origis acquired the development rights for the project from TurningPoint Energy, which originally developed it. It’s the largest solar project in the Tri-State generation portfolio.

“The addition of a new tax base for McKinley County and our local school district is certainly beneficial, and we appreciate Tri-State and the project partners for bringing Escalante Solar to our region,” said Robert E. Castillo, Continental Divide Electric Cooperative CEO and general manager.

The project will pay approximately $7,100,000 in taxes to the county and $2,400,000 in taxes to the school district over its lifetime.

Gridworks, headquartered in Albuquerque provided construction services for the project, employing an estimated 400 people during that time. Origis Energy Services will provide long-term operations and maintenance services for the project, employing approximately four to six on-site jobs. Approximately 500,000 Boviet solar panels were used in the project. Array Technologies provided solar tracking systems and solutions.

“Every time a project is completed and begins commercial operation, that is cause to celebrate,” said Guy Vanderhaegen, executive chairman of Origis Energy. “We are especially delighted to bring affordable, reliable, renewable electricity to the members of Tri-State, which helps meet Tri-State’s decarbonization goals.”

News item from Origis Energy

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