A state regulator has approved two new projects that will deliver electricity in southern New Mexico and west Texas at the record-low prices of just US1.5¢ per kilowatt-hour for solar and 2.1¢ for solar plus storage.
Following the ruling by the New Mexico Public Regulatory Commission, the 100-megawatt Hecate project in Santa Teresa and the 100-MW solar/50-MW storage Buena Vista project in Otero County will go into service in 2022, Utility Dive reports . “The low prices are noteworthy, particularly $14.99 per megawatt-hour for the Hecate project,” said Coalition for Clean Affordable Energy attorney Stephanie Dzur.
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Local utility El Paso Electric, facing a requirement to buy 20% of its retail electricity sales from renewable sources by this year, had originally proposed three power purchase agreements. The regulator rejected the Canutillo project in Texas, which carried a price tag of 6.94¢/kWh. The utility also wants to add a 228-megawatt natural gas unit to an existing power plant in Texas.
Last year, New Mexico legislators adopted a 2045 deadline to produce all the state’s electricity from carbon-free sources. The state currently has 905 MW of installed solar capacity, according to the Solar Energy Industries Association, and has seen prices fall 38% over the last five years.