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Tri-State Announces 25-Megawatt Alta Luna Solar Project

Economic Development Administration awards village $504,300

More than 100 people attended theAlta Luna Solar Project ribbon-cutting ceremony on March 16, celebrating the completion of the 258-acre, 109,239 solar panel facility in Luna County, near Deming, New Mexico. Tri-State will purchase power from the project for 25 years under the terms $504,300.

Tri-State Generation and Transmission Association, Inc., a wholesale power supplier owned by 44 member electric cooperatives and public power districts, and D. E. Shaw Renewable Investments, L.L.C. (DESRI), announced the execution of a 25-year contract to supply the utility with renewable energy from the planned Alta Luna Solar Project to be constructed in Luna County in southwest New Mexico.
Tri-State will purchase the entire output of the 25-megawatt (MW) solar farm over the life of the contract. The facility is expected to come online in December 2016 and will receive electric service from Columbus Electric, a Tri-State member system serving approximately 3,000 members and over 6,800 meters from its headquarters in Deming, N.M.

Alta Luna Solar is the third utility-scale renewable energy project we've announced this year and further demonstrates how Tri-State and its members are committed to a diverse yet cost-effective generation fleet

A collaborative effort to find solutions

“Alta Luna Solar is the third utility-scale renewable energy project we’ve announced this year and further demonstrates how Tri-State and its members are committed to a diverse yet cost-effective generation fleet,” said Brad Nebergall, Tri-State’s senior vice president of energy management. “As with the other projects, Alta Luna represents a collaborative effort to find solutions to the various challenges that new generation presents – from siting and engineering to transmission access and financing. We are very thankful to our partners for their cooperation and shared vision in this effort.”

Chris Martinez, executive vice president & general manager of Columbus Electric Cooperative, noted that the project is a point of pride for southwest New Mexico. “The addition of Alta Luna Solar allows cooperative member-owners to harness a vital New Mexico resource – the sun – for generating affordable, renewable power for the communities in this part of the state. We are pleased to be contributing to this important initiative.

The Alta Luna Solar Project is expected to consist of a single-axis tracking array of over 108,000 photovoltaic solar panels located on a 220-acre site in Luna County, approximately 25 miles northeast of Deming. The project was developed by TurningPoint Energy, a Denver-based energy developer, and subsequently sold to an affiliate of DESRI in partnership with Bright Plain Renewable Energy, LLC, a San Francisco based solar project developer, investor and operator.

innovation, collaboration and leadership

“Alta Luna Solar was a very complex solar project that came together due to innovation, collaboration and leadership of our collective team, including Tri-State, Columbus Electric, Luna County, Bright Plain Renewable Energy, D.E. Shaw and my co-development partners at Solar Prime,” said Jared Schoch, principal and founder of TurningPoint Energy. “I want to especially highlight Luna County, which is a collaborative, pro-business, pro-renewable energy generation county.”

We are pleased to be working with Tri-State and our other valued partners to provide renewable energy services to the residents of New Mexico,” said Bryan Martin, a managing director and head of U.S. Private Equity for the D. E. Shaw group. “By transforming the state’s vast solar resources into a clean, reliable source of energy, Alta Luna Solar is an important step as we build a bright and sustainable future together.”

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