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D.E. Shaw starts building solar-plus-storage project with 100MW BESS in New Mexico

By JP Casey

US developer D. E. Shaw has broken ground on a 200MW solar, 100MW battery storage project in New Mexico, set to come online in 2024.

D.E. Shaw Renewable Investments (DESRI) announced the close of financing and start of construction on its 200MWac San Juan solar and storage project this week (11 July).

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This phase of the project, dubbed “San Juan 1” by DESRI, consists of the solar farm, alongside a 100MWac battery storage facility, all of which DESRI expects to come online in mid-2024.

The company announced that it had reached financial close for this phase, paving the way for construction to begin, and added that the later phases of construction will bring the total capacity of the San Juan project up to 400MWac, which would make the project the company’s largest by capacity.

The project is also notable as it looks to replace the capacity of the San Juan Generating Station, a coal-fired power plant in the region that was decommissioned by its owner, the Public Service Company of New Mexico (PNM), last year.

While the coal plant boasted a larger total capacity than DESRI’s San Juan project, with a nameplate capacity of 1.8GW, its final operating unit had a capacity of around 555MW, so its replacement with the San Juan project will only lower the region’s total power capacity by around 150MW. DESRI, and others in the solar sector, will be optimistic that this slight reduction in total capacity is justified by the transition from coal to a renewable power source.

“As a capacity replacement for a retired coal generator, the project is an important part of New Mexico’s transition to state of the art, cost-effective renewable energy, firmed by battery storage,” said DESRI chief commercial officer Thomas de Swardt. “We deeply appreciate the partnership of PNM, San Juan County, the San Juan Citizen’s Alliance, the project’s lenders and numerous other stakeholders and supporters in the community in achieving this milestone.”

The company is developing several large solar-plus-storage projects across the US covered by, including a larger project with a 600MWh BESS in New Mexico, and a 400MWh one in California.

See the original version of this article on PV Tech.

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