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EPE begins commercial operations of Montana Power Station Units 1, 2

El Paso Electric (EPE, NYSE: EE) announced that Units 1 and 2 at the Montana Power Station (MPS) — in El Paso, Texas — have reached commercial operations.

The two natural gas-fired, simple-cycle aero-derivative combustion turbines each have an output capacity of 88-MW. Utilizing the aero-derivative technology, the turbines can reach full output in less than 10 minutes.

Construction on Units 1 and 2 began in June 2014 after EPE obtained approvals from the Public Utility Commission of Texas, the New Mexico Public Regulation Commission, the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality and U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

“Several years ago, we began planning and investing to replace our less efficient plant and equipment while providing additional resources for our growing service territory,” said Tom Shockley, El Paso Electric chief executive officer (CEO). “The completion of our major construction projects, including our clean burning natural gas units and utility-scale solar generation, will efficiently provide the power necessary to meet the growing needs of our region.”

Construction of the second phase includes Units 3 and 4 is slated to begin later this year. When completed in 2016, the four turbines will produce 352-MW.

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