- Western Energy Partners will build a $1 billion, 750 MW hybrid natural gas and photovoltaic (PV) solar power plant in New Mexico. It is expected to create 800 construction jobs and 30 permanent jobs and be online by mid-2019. The nameplate capacity will include 680 MW of natural gas and 70 MW of PV.
- The plant will replace jobs, revenues, and generation lost when Arizona Public Service shuttered three units at a nearby coal plant and Public Service Company of New Mexico shuttered two units at another. The jobs will also help replace those lost when BHP sold a local coal mine to the Navajo Nation.
- A Western Energy Partners spokesperson said San Juan County was chosen for its Clean Path Energy Center because it has ample natural gas resources, land for plant construction, and existing transmission. No off-taker was disclosed.
Florida Power & Light’s Martin Next Generation Clean Energy Center became the world’s first hybrid solar-natural gas facility when it went online in 2010. It is a parabolic trough concentrating solar power plant with a nameplate 75 MW capacity integrated with a multi-unit 1150 MW combined cycle natural gas facility.
Utilities are increasingly moving away from coal fired generation, and the biggest beneficiary of the shift seems to be natural gas. Growth in natural gas generation outpaced all other generation sources in the first half of 2014, according to the latest aggregated data from EIA.
Natural gas is projected to continue its steady growth in 2015. Electric generating companies expect to add more than 20 gigawatts (GW) of total capacity. EIA forecasts 91% of additions will be 9.8 GW of wind, 6.3 GW of natural gas, and 2.2 GW of solar. Of plants shuttered, coal is expected to be 12.9 GW, or 81%, of the total.