El Paso, Las Cruces, and environmentalists oppose El Paso Electric’s power plant project

EL PASO – El Paso Electric’s plan to spend more than $163 million to put a new, natural gas-fired generating unit at its Newman power plant in far Northeast El Paso is being opposed by the El Paso and Las Cruces city governments, the New Mexico attorney general, and environmental groups in El Paso and New Mexico.

The new generator is needed to meet future peak electric demand, and also to allow the utility to retire three, inefficient, 60-year-old generating units, including two at the Newman plant, El Paso Electric officials said.

The company, which in July was sold for US$4.3 billion to the JP Morgan Chase-tied Infrastructure Investments Fund (IIF), late last year filed applications with the states’ regulatory commissions to add the 228-megawatt generator to the Newman power plant by May 2023. That’s enough power to supply about 101,000 homes over a year.

El Paso Electric needs approval from electric utility regulators in Texas and New Mexico because it provides electricity to more than 436,000 customers the El Paso and Las Cruces areas.

The company also needs Texas Commission on Environmental Quality approval for revisions to the Newman plant’s air-quality permits, something EPE officials said should not be a problem.

Source: Deming Headlight