BrightSource Energy, a solar power company based in Oakland, CA and Jerusalem, Israel, has identified almost 14,000 acres of New Mexico trust lands in Luna and Hidalgo counties as potential sites for utility-scale solar power plants.
State Land Commissioner Patrick Lyons recently signed a five-year option agreement with BrightSource Energy for $60,374. The option gives BrightSource two years to measure solar radiation, conduct environmental surveys, perform soil analyses, negotiate power purchase agreements and acquire transmission agreements.
According to a State Land Office press release, once a long term lease is executed, BrightSource intends to build a 600-megawatt facility on the Luna County site and sell power to the California market over the next 10 to 15 years. The intended facility will have the capacity to power 300,000 homes annually.
New Mexico's renewable portfolio standard requires that 15 percent of an electric utility's power supply must come from renewable sources by 2015. The requirement goes to 20 percent by 2020.