NM utilities partner on solar project

ALBUQUERQUE, NM Public Service Company of New Mexico, El Paso Electric, Xcel Energy and the Tri-State Generation and Transmission Association say they want the plant to provide solar electricity by 2012.

Among the requirements for bidders, the facility must be located in New Mexico and it must be able to deliver between 211,000 and 375,000 megawatt-hours per year. That's enough to power between 29,000 and 52,000 average New Mexico homes.

It must also use parabolic trough technology, which uses mirrors to focus sunlight onto an oil-filled tube. The hot oil is used to make steam, and the steam is used to turn a generator, producing electricity.

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