Plans have been announced for the construction of a 24-kilovolt electric power substation in a rural section of Dona Ana County at the base of the Organ Mountains.
The El Paso Electric Company is proposing to build the $5.5 million facility on a 3.7-acre site in the subdivision of Talavera. Upon completion, the substation could serve up to 30,000 homes in the area.
The project would also include the upgrading of 10.5 miles of existing power lines as well as another 2.2 miles of new lines.
But the project has received criticism from residents and community activists who maintained that the substation that El Paso Electric wants to replace with the new facility is still in working order.
That gas-fired station, officially called Rio Grande Unit Number 6, was built in 1957 and has a generating capacity of 45 megawatts.
In response, members of the Dona Ana County Commission have voted in favor of asking the New Mexico Public Regulation Commission to review the project, with an emphasis on whether it can be economically justified.
In voting for the resolution, commission member Billy Garrett said he wanted to make sure “that the way that our power supply is generated will be at minimal expense to the businesses and residents of Dona Ana County.”
It is not known when the PRC will review the project.
by Garry Boulard
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