Xcel Energy is adding a new source of power to its Texas-New Mexico generation.  Xcel has signed an agreement with NextEra Energy Resources to purchase 140 megawatts of solar energy produced by two plants to be built near Roswell, New Mexico in Chaves County. NextEra is planning to build a third solar energy plant in Chaves County, but Xcel is not purchasing the electrical output of the third plant.

The power generation is expected to be added to Xcel's Texas-new Mexico capacity in 2016.

David Hudson, the president of Southwestern Public Service says New Mexico tax credits will keep the cost of the solar energy competitive with Xcel’s current natural gas power generation.

“We are making these purchases because they make good sense economically,” Hudson said. “Not only is solar energy dropping in price, it also displaces megawatts generated from some of our older, less-efficient natural gas-fueled plants. This saves on fuel costs and environmental compliance for years to come, and these savings are passed directly on to our customers in Texas and New Mexico.”

Xcel Energy's public liaison in Eastern New Mexico praised the solar energy deal.

“It’s well known that economic renewable energy reduces our reliance on fossil
fuels, helps clean the air and reduces fuel costs,” said Mike McLeod, Xcel Energy regional manager for Community and Economic Development in Roswell. “But we often forget what a great economic driver these projects are to the regional economy. The NextEra projects, like all the other area renewable energy developments, increase the value of rural land. In turn, the higher values generate more long-term tax revenue for local governments that are looking for opportunities to grow their tax bases.”

Through its wholly owned subsidiary, Southwestern Public Service Company, Xcel Energy serves close to 385,000 electric customers in eastern and southeastern New Mexico and  the Panhandle and South Plains regions of Texas.