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Texas-Based Utility Well-Positioned for New EPA Carbon Standards: Coal-Free By 2016, Largest Solar Facility Doubles Solar

  Texas-Based Utility Well-Positioned for New EPA Carbon Standards: Coal-Free
  By 2016, Largest Solar Facility Doubles Solar Portfolio

Business Wire

EL PASO, Texas -- June 16, 2014

El Paso Electric Company (EPE), a Texas-based utility servicing 395,000
customers in both west Texas and southern New Mexico, is well-positioned for
the new carbon standards proposed by the Environmental Protection Agency
(EPA). EPE will be coal-free by 2016 and, in less than one year, has doubled
its utility-scale solar portfolio, making this west Texas-based utility a
national leader in solar development.

#1MachoSprings - Largest Solar Facility in New Mexico (Photo: Business Wire)

#1MachoSprings - Largest Solar Facility in New Mexico (Photo: Business Wire)

El Paso Electric welcomes the completion and commercial operations of Macho
Springs, the largest solar facility in New Mexico. This 50 megawatt (MW) solar
facility, along with an additional solar facility that will be the largest in
El Paso, Texas (10 MW and completed by the end of the year) will expand total
solar generation to 6% of EPE’s dedicated generation resources.

“Our west Texas and southern New Mexico region has the right kind of sun for
optimal solar energy production, making this region the ‘goldilocks’ in terms
of climate, humidity and heat characteristics that allow us to expand our
renewable portfolio with cost-effective technologies and reliable energy
resources,” said Tom Shockley, Chief Executive Officer at El Paso Electric.
“With over 300 days of sunshine every year, we are in the perfect region for
solar energy technologies, which in the long run reduces carbon emissions and
provides cleaner air.”

        Macho Springs Facility – Largest Solar Facility in New Mexico:
          Click here to download b-roll and photos of the facility.

EPE signed a 20-year purchase power agreement (PPA) with Macho Springs Solar,
LLC, owned by Southern Company subsidiary Southern Power and Turner Renewable
Energy. The facility was built and will be operated by First Solar, a leading
global provider of comprehensive photovoltaic (PV) solar systems utilizing its
advanced thin-film modules. Macho Springs is located on a 597-acre site in
Luna County, New Mexico, between Hatch and Deming, New Mexico. The new solar
facility, which is about the same size as 300 football fields, will generate
enough clean energy to power more than 18,000 homes. This project will also
displace more than 40,000 metric tons of CO[2], the equivalent of taking 7,500
cars off the road, and will displace more than 340,000 metric tons of water
consumption annually in southern New Mexico and west Texas.

“We continue to look for opportunities to add cost-effective solar energy
technologies as the price of solar energy becomes more competitive,” adds
Shockley. “At the time we signed our agreement with Macho Springs, it was the
cheapest price of solar in the market. Our commitment to building a portfolio
that includes renewable technologies complements our local, clean burning
natural gas units, helping to make overall power in our region more
dependable, safer and cleaner.”

Earlier in February 2014, El Paso Electric signed a 30-year PPA with Newman
Solar LLC, owned by Colorado-based juwi solar Inc. (JSI), which will build the
10 MW solar energy facility in Northeast El Paso, Texas. The facility is
expected to go operational by the end of 2014 powering an additional 3,800
homes.

                              Coal-Free by 2016

El Paso Electric has determined that it is in the best interest of its 395,000
customers not to participate in the operation of the coal-fired Four Corners
Power Plant after the plant’s scheduled retirement in July 2016. EPE, which
has a 7% interest in the plant, will continue to work with the 93% owners and
the Navajo Nation to facilitate their efforts to extend the operation of the
plant beyond 2016. EPE will also continue to pursue a sale of its 7% interest
in the plant.

For additional information and updates, please visit EPElectric.com or call
(915) 497-3495 for interviews.

El Paso Electric (NYSE:EE) is a regional electric utility providing
generation, transmission, and distribution service to approximately 395,000
retail and wholesale customers in a 10,000 square mile area of the Rio Grande
valley in west Texas and southern New Mexico. El Paso Electric has a net
dependable generating capability of 1,872 MW.

Photos/Multimedia Gallery Available:
http://www.businesswire.com/multimedia/home/20140615005028/en/

Multimedia
Available:http://www.businesswire.com/cgi-bin/mmg.cgi?eid=50886737&lang=en

Contact:

El Paso Electric
Eddie Gutierrez, 915-497-3495
eduardo.gutierrez@epelectric.com
 
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