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Two new 100-MW utility-solar units expected in the Permian Basin

Highlights

Facilities will add 13.4% to ERCOT solar capacity

Most of solar capacity is in or near Permian Basin

Houston — Two 100-MW utility-scale solar photovoltaic generation projects are either under construction or will soon be in two west Texas counties situated within the Permian Basin.

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One of the projects is to be owned by Duke Energy Renewables, the other by Germany's E.ON.

The Duke Energy Renewables project, announced February 8, is the 100-MW Lapetus Solar Energy Project that is slated for Andrews County, Texas.

Duke has acquired the Lapetus project from developer 7X Energy and said in a February 8 statement that construction of the facility is expected to begin before the end of March and is scheduled to begin operations by the end of this year.

"Once operational, the solar energy from Lapetus will be sold in solar blocks under a power purchase agreement negotiated by 7X and Duke Energy Renewables and will deliver electricity to ERCOT," Duke Energy Renewables said. "Brazos Electric Power Cooperative will purchase the energy on behalf of CoServ Electric and seven other distribution cooperative members."

Duke Energy Renewables said Lapetus will be its largest regulated or unregulated solar facility in the US and will be sited on 800 acres of land.

E.ON PROJECT HAS PPA WITH KOREAN ENERGY FIRM

On January 30, E.ON said it broke ground on its 100-MW West of the Pecos solar project, located in Reeves County, Texas. E.ON said it is its first solar project in Texas and expects the facility to come online in December 2019.

The project is being built on 670 acres and will include the installation of 350,000 photovoltaic panels.

In May, the project secured a long-term power purchase agreement for 50 MW with SK E&S LNG, a subsidiary of one of the largest energy companies in South Korea.

SK E&S is a partner in the Freeport LNG export terminal project that has faced delays in construction on Quintana Island, south of Houston. Offtakers of that LNG project are required to supply electricity and natural gas to the LNG facility.

E.ON's project is to be located approximately 75 miles southwest of Midland-Odessa in the Permian's Delaware Basin.

Duke's project in Andrews County is in the Permian's Central Basin and will be located west of Midland and just east of the border with New Mexico

Oil and gas drilling operations in both basins have been particularly active, with rising demand for electric power.

30 SOLAR FACILITIES IN ERCOT

According to ERCOT's Seasonal Assessment for Resource Adequacy for this winter, in which it estimated peak demand at 61,780 MW, it said it had 30 solar facilities with 1 MW of capacity or greater available with combined capacity of 1,485.4 MW.

Seven of the largest solar facilities are located in Pecos County, on the southern rim of the Permian Basin, near the town of Fort Stockton, the report noted.

The new Duke and E.ON facilities would increase utility-solar capacity in ERCOT by 13.4%.

According to ERCOT, there were 172 wind generating facilities with 1 MW of capacity or more located in the western, central and northern part of the state going into this winter. This wind fleet of 18,920.6 MW of combined capacity benefits from late night winds and has an average wind peak capacity of 20%, ERCOT said.

ERCOT also said it has 20 wind facilities in coastal counties along the Gulf of Mexico that have a combined capacity of 2,619.6 MW. This fleet, which benefits from strong afternoon Gulf winds, has an average wind peak capacity of 43%.

-- Jeffrey Ryser, jeffrey.ryser@spglobal.com

-- Edited by Annie Siebert, newsdesk@spglobal.com

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