Work commences on 200MW Escalante Solar Project, New Mexico

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Origis Energy announced the start of work on the Escalante Solar project, which will be built on the site of a decommissioned 253 MW coal-fired power station. The 200 MW project is planned to be operational in 2024.

The project, which consists of 500,000 solar modules, is expected to provide enough energy to power 40,000 New Mexico households. It is intended to offset 192,156 kg of carbon emissions produced by a comparable coal plant. The Tri-State coal plant will close in 2020. Further, it is the first solar project to begin construction under the utility’s Responsible Energy Plan, which was launched the same year.

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How many jobs will be created under Origis Energy at the Escalante Solar project

Peak construction is estimated to employ 400 people, with four to six long-term on-site positions remaining after completion. TurningPoint Energy, the original developer, sold the Escalante Solar Project development rights to Origis Energy. Furthermore, the project, located in the service region of Continental Divide Electric Cooperative (CDEC), will serve all Tri-State members. This includes CDEC and the other 10 members in New Mexico. Gridworks, based in Albuquerque, is providing construction services.

“We continue to reinvest in the local community and advance our goal of having 50% of the energy used by our members come from renewable resources by 2025. Additionally, meeting the Energy Transition Act’s 2030 renewable energy requirements five years early,” said Tri-State CEO Duane Highley. “CohnReznick Capital helped us engage with Origis. Furthermore, we partnered with Origis on this project because they are uniquely qualified to deliver on utility-scale solar projects in today’s business environment,” said Jared Schoch, president of TurningPoint Energy.

“While the solar project cannot replace the jobs lost at the retired coal plant, the addition of a new tax base for McKinley County and our local school district is significant. Further, we thank Tri-State and the project partners for bringing Escalante Solar to our region,” said CDEC CEO Robert E. Castillo.