Western Energy Partners plans gas/solar project in New Mexico

Western Energy Partners LLC, a Colorado-based energy development company, announced April 7 its intention to develop, permit, construct and operate an innovative 750-MW project located on privately owned land near Waterflow in San Juan County, N.M.

The Clean Path Energy Center LLC (Clean Path Energy Center) project will help fill an urgent and growing need that is being created by the announced retirement of aging coal-fueled power plants located in the Four Corners and Desert Southwest region, the company noted. The Clean Path Energy Center will consist of a 680-MW natural gas-fired combined cycle plant co-located with an advanced 70-MW solar photovoltaic (PV) project to create a first of its kind electricity generation system in the region.

“The Clean Path Energy Center is ideally located to take full advantage of the robust natural gas and electrical infrastructure in San Juan County. This uniquely configured project will feature unprecedented operating efficiencies, exceptionally fast ramping rates and will establish new standards for environmental stewardship. Further, the Clean Path Energy Center is ideally positioned to meet the future electrical needs of consumers in a highly economic and sustainable manner for many years to come,” said Curt Hildebrand, President of Western Energy Partners.

“By combining a state-of-the-art clean burning natural gas generator and an advanced PV solar array to produce electricity, the Clean Path Energy Center continues the process of establishing San Juan County and the Four Corners region as an environmentally-responsible source of energy for the west,” stated San Juan County Executive Officer Dr. Kim J. Carpenter.

“The Clean Path Energy Center project is designed to take full advantage of the recent and dramatic technological advances in modern gas turbine and solar PV technologies. The 680 MW combined cycle plant will be capable of providing baseload generation around the clock in an exceptionally efficient and flexible manner, thereby enhancing the viability of intermittent renewable technology in the region. Additionally, the renewable 70 MW Solar PV power block will be capable of providing additional renewable peaking generation capacity that is critical during times of higher system loads,” Hildebrand said.

The Clean Path Energy Center will create approximately 800 jobs during the peak construction phase and 30 full-time family-wage positions when is operational. Completion of the project is expected in mid 2019.

Western Energy Partners said it is partnering with two industry-leading firms to provide engineering, construction and financial resources for the project. SNC-Lavalin Inc., a Montreal-based Engineering and Construction company, will serve as the Engineering, Construction and Procurement (EPC) contractor for the project’s combined cycle power block and support project development. Stonepeak Partners LP, a New York-based private equity firm with over $1.7 billion in capital currently under management, will also be providing project development support. The project will be funded by both partners. 

With a combined 140 years of experience in the energy industry, the team at Western Energy Partners is uniquely experienced and highly qualified to site, develop, finance and construct financially sound power plant projects. The Western Energy Partners team has collectively served in lead management roles in the successful development and construction of over 7,000 MW of profitable new power projects.

Founded in 1911, SNC-Lavalin is one of the leading engineering and construction groups in the world and a major player in the ownership of infrastructure.

Stonepeak Infrastructure Partners is an independent infrastructure investment firm specializing in North American middle-market infrastructure assets. Stonepeak takes a conservative yet opportunistic approach to investing in businesses comprised of hard assets with leading market positions primarily in the following sectors: Power and Renewables, Utilities, Water, Transportation, Energy, and Communications. Stonepeak is led by seasoned infrastructure investing professionals, supplemented by six operating partners that are industry veterans with deep experience building and managing infrastructure businesses, including multiple former chief executives of publicly listed companies. Stonepeak is based in New York.

About Barry Cassell 20414 Articles
Barry Cassell is Chief Analyst for GenerationHub covering coal and emission controls issues, projects and policy. He has covered the coal and power generation industry for more than 24 years, beginning in November 2011 at GenerationHub and prior to that as editor of SNL Energy’s Coal Report. He was formerly with Coal Outlook for 15 years as the publication’s editor and contributing writer, and prior to that he was editor of Coal & Synfuels Technology and associate editor of The Energy Report. He has a bachelor’s degree from Central Michigan University.