AMARILLO, Texas (KAMR/KCIT) — Xcel Energy announced its focus on acquiring a mix of power-generating options over the next decade for Texas and New Mexico through the filing of an Integrated Resource Plan with the New Mexico Regulation Commission.
Officials detailed that the acquisition is needed due to the economic growth that is “driving the need for a significant amount of new electric generation” as older power plants are beginning to retire their necessary services.
The recent filing, according to officials, represents the company’s first steps toward the generation of resources to further service Texas and New Mexico customers with reliable, affordable, and clean energy.
“We have spent months working with our stakeholders and communities to assess future needs and to understand how our customers expect us to meet those obligations,” said Adrian J. Rodriguez, president, Xcel Energy – New Mexico, Texas. “The resulting plan recognizes the importance of keeping power affordable and reliable across our service territory while meeting the goals of the New Mexico Energy Transition Act and our own carbon reduction targets.”
It was estimated by the company that Xcel will need between five to 10 gigawatts of new power generation to meet the energy needs of the region through 2030. A gigawatt is equal to 1,000 megawatts and officials informed that the current peak demand for Xcel customers is slightly over 6,000 megawatts.
According to officials, the increase in power demands is due to the following factors:
- Population and economic growth in Xcel Energy’s service territory;
- Continued expansion of the oil and gas industry in southeastern New Mexico, along with beneficial oil field electrification projects that will help further reduce carbon emissions; and
- Future adoption of electric vehicles.
Xcel is focused on sourcing a mix of energy that balances economic renewable resources with dispatchable and readily available generation for “reliable energy to fill the gaps in intermittent resources such as wind and solar,” officials noted.
According to officials, the current renewable contributions to the company’s Texas and New Mexico system have reduced carbon emissions by 52% while company-owned wind farms have contributed to a saving of $3 billion in avoided fuel costs and earned tax credits since 2017.
“We anticipate adopting new technologies that are commercially available and furthest along in
development, where the engineering, cost and supportive public policy make them a good solution and fit for our customers,” said Rodriguez. “To reduce carbon emissions, we plan to pair our existing system with advanced technologies as they become available while continuing to meet customer expectations for reliable, affordable energy.”
Rodriguez went on to note that the retention of local jobs and the increase of the local tax base for counties and schools is also a focus around the new generating resources plan along with the continued usage of existing infrastructure.
The company has continued to work on projects, including the study of a proposal that would replace electric capacity from retired generating units with two solar generating facilities and a battery system in Hobbs, N.M. and Earth, Texas, that could assist customers with around $440 million in savings.
The New Mexico Regulation Commission will need to review the plan over the next few months and then the company will begin the process of initiating the plan by requesting proposals in mid-2024. The proposal will be evaluated and final agreements will be filed with regulators in 2025. The approved power-generating plan should be online by 2028, officials said.
“Our plan will power the economic engine in the Southwest by supporting the load growth that in turn supports the local economy and creates healthy, thriving communities,” said Brad Baldridge, Xcel Energy director of Customer and Community Relations. “Clean energy, dependable service and the health of our local economy matters to us, our customers and our communities.”