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Origis Energy and Tri-State Announce Commercial Operation of Escalante Solar

The 200 MW-solar project highlights the latest milestone to bring renewable energy to rural cooperative members.

June 11, 2024
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MIAMI, Fla., (June 11, 2024) – Origis Energy and Tri-State Generation and Transmission Association announced Escalante Solar has reached commercial operation. Built on the site of the former 253-MWac, coal-fired Escalante Station near Grants, N.M, which was retired in 2020, the solar project began generating carbon-free electricity on June 1, 2024.

“Escalante Solar helps all our members get to 50% clean energy used in 2025, while meeting the requirements of New Mexico’s Energy Transition Act five years ahead of schedule,” said Duane Highley, CEO for Tri-State. “We thank Origis Energy for their work to successfully develop Escalante Solar, and we deeply appreciate their engagement with the local community.”

“Every time a project is completed and begins commercial operation, that is cause to celebrate,” said Guy Vanderhaegen, Executive Chairman of Origis Energy. “We are especially delighted to bring affordable, reliable, renewable electricity to the members of Tri-State, which helps meet Tri-State’s decarbonization goals.”

Escalante Solar is now delivering 200 MWac of clean solar generation, enough power to serve an estimated 63,000 homes, to Tri-State’s members, including 11 electric cooperative members in New Mexico, under a power purchase agreement with Origis Energy. The project was announced in 2020 as part of Tri-State’s landmark Responsible Energy Plan and is located in Tri-State member Continental Divide Electric Cooperative’s service territory. It’s the largest solar project in the Tri-State generation portfolio.

“The addition of a new tax base for McKinley County and our local school district is certainly beneficial, and we appreciate Tri-State and the project partners for bringing Escalante Solar to our region,” said Robert E. Castillo, Continental Divide Electric Cooperative chief executive officer and general manager.

The project will pay approximately $7,100,000 in taxes to the County and $2,400,000 in taxes to the School District over its life.

“New Mexico communities have a long, proud history of powering our state and the rest of our country. This new solar project builds on that tradition — connecting more families across our state to clean, low-cost electricity,” said U.S. Sen. Marin Heinrich, D-New Mexico. “I look forward to continuing the work to grow more economic development opportunities so that all working people in this region can access high-quality careers they can build and support their families with.”

Gridworks, headquartered in Albuquerque, N.M., provided construction services for the project, employing an estimated 400 people during that time. Origis Energy Services will provide long-term operations and maintenance services for the project, employing approximately 4-6 on-site jobs.

Approximately 500,000 Boviet solar panels were used in the project. Array Technologies headquartered and expanding in Albuquerque, N.M., provided solar tracking systems and solutions.

In 2021, Origis acquired the development rights for the project from TurningPoint Energy, which originally developed it.

Business, community leaders and development partners were pleased by the announcement.

“We are very pleased to see Origis Energy and Tri-State invest in McKinley County. They are great organizations that have the community spirit to help us grow,” said State Rep. Patty Lundstrom, D-McKinley County.

“We are excited for the benefits Escalante will provide to Tri-State and its members and are grateful for the economic impact it has created for a variety of New Mexico-based companies. We deeply appreciate the opportunity from Origis and are excited to continue the momentum of transitioning the grid to a sustainable future in New Mexico and beyond,” said Kevin Bassalleck, President of Gridworks.

“We’re grateful for our partnership with Origis Energy and Gridworks that allows us to showcase the reliability of Array’s tracking solutions, while also supporting clean energy jobs and contributing to a cleaner future for communities served by Tri-State,” said Kevin Hostetler, chief executive officer for Array Technologies.

For more information about the project, visit the project page.

 

About Origis Energy

Origis Energy is accelerating the transition to a carbon-free future by Reimagining Zero℠. As one of America’s leading renewable energy and decarbonization solution platforms, the company continues to expand and reimagine its contribution to the world’s net-zero goals. Origis Energy puts customers first to deploy a wide range of sustainable solutions for grid and distributed power generation, clean hydrogen and long-term operation of solar, energy storage and clean hydrogen plants across the U.S. Founded in 2008, Origis Energy is headquartered in Miami, FL. Learn more at Origis Energy.

About Tri-State

Tri-State is a wholesale power supply cooperative, operating on a not-for-profit basis, with 45 members, including 42 utility electric distribution cooperative and public power district members in four states that together deliver reliable, affordable and responsible power to more than a million electricity consumers across nearly 200,000 square miles of the West. For more information about Tri-State, visit www.tristate.coop.

Media Contacts

Origis Energy 
Kerri Case
786-376-7596
media@origisenergy.com

Tri-State  
Lee Boughey
303-254-3555
lboughey@tristategt.org

Mark Stutz
303-254-3183
mstutz@tristategt.org

Photo Credits: TurningPoint Energy

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