Xcel Energy plans backup power source for Tucumcari

TUCUMCARI, N.M. – Xcel Energy (NYSE: XEL) asked the New Mexico Public Regulation Commission today for approval to construct a new power generating facility in Tucumcari, N.M.

The facility will be known as the Quay County Generating Station, and it will be comprised of a single simple-cycle combustion turbine powered by diesel fuel. Its primary purpose will be to provide 22 megawatts of standby electricity for the city of Tucumcari, which is served by a single transmission feed.

Xcel Energy’s regional operating company, Southwestern Public Service Company, acquired the electricity distribution system that serves Tucumcari in 1980, along with a small diesel-fueled power plant that served the city’s needs for many years. That plant, with its outdated diesel engines, reached the end of its useful life and was decommissioned last year and dismantled.

Before the old plant was decommissioned, Xcel Energy studied the most cost-effective way to provide backup service to Tucumcari and decided that a backup generating system to replace the old Tucumcari plant would be the best solution.

The company plans to spend $15.8 million to build a facility near its Campbell Substation in north Tucumcari, at the intersection of Campbell and Fifth streets. A gas turbine generator now in service at the company’s Riverview Generating Station near Borger, Texas will be relocated to the new facility after this summer’s peak generating season. Xcel Energy plans to have the Quay County plant operational by the summer of 2013.

“With a new generating plant in the city, we can restore service through a gradual process in case of an extended or prolonged outage on the single transmission line feeding the city,” said David Essex, manager for community and economic development in Clovis, N.M.. “Once the transmission line is repaired and re-energized, the generator would be idled and power once again would flow in from the line.”

“We are grateful for the support of city and county leaders who have worked with us on this project,” Essex added.