Ledes from the Land of Enchantment

Luna County to consider El Paso Electric solar project

Luna County Commissioners approved a call for an ordinance at their Nov. 14 meeting that, if approved, would authorize up to 5 million in industrial revenue bonds to finance a major solar energy project on 1,200 acres in Luna County northeast of Deming.

Industrial revenue bonds are a type of bond issued by municipalities to finance large projects by private entities that are of significant benefit to a community, to be repaid through revenue generated by the project.

The vote means the proposed ordinance will be considered by the board at the public hearing in December, after legal notices are published at least two weeks in advance.

Carne Energy Storage plans to build a 130 megawatt facility with battery storage capacity of 65 megawatts — enough to power more than 20,000 homes based on industrial averages.

Meghan Whitley of DE Shaw Renewable Investments, the developer-owner that also owns the Alta Luna solar farm on New Mexico Highway 26 in Luna County and other projects in New Mexico, told commissioners that the Carne Solar project would sell power to El Paso Electric to serve their southern New Mexico customers. The El Paso utility’s service area begins as far west as Hatch and includes Las Cruces.

The project is expected to be operational in mid-2025, assuming financial closing, permitting and construction proceeding on schedule.

Meanwhile, the Deming City Council voted last week to cancel a procurement award it had awarded in March pertaining to another, unrelated solar energy project on city land.

At its March 15 meeting, the council had unanimously approved an agreement with EDF Renewables and Soltage, LLC to lease city-owned land for a project with utility company PNM’s service area. The project itself would have been subject to an approved ordinance.

Sera said the city and the companies were not able to reach an agreement on lease terms, and staff said one of the entities had violated rules by attempting to alter its procurement price. The award was canceled unanimously.

Neither EDF nor Soltage responded to queries from the Headlight.

This story appeared in our Nov. 23 edition. Algernon D’Ammassa can be reached at [email protected]

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