Los Alamos Department of Public Utilities (DPU) announced today the completion of a Power Purchase Agreement (PPA) with Uniper Global Commodities that will provide Los Alamos County with 15 megawatts of firm energy supply over a 15-year period. The agreement guarantees an energy supply primarily sourced from new wind and solar generation facilities now under development in New Mexico. It also secures a long-term, firm power solution for Los Alamos at pricing lower than the County’s current blended cost of power. Deliveries under the new agreement are scheduled to begin in January 2022.
Utilities Manager Philo Shelton said replacing existing coal-sourced power with supply from renewable energy facilities could reduce the County’s carbon emissions by as much as 70,000 metric tons each year. Shelton characterized the agreement as an important step forward that brings the DPU closer to its goal of becoming a carbon-neutral electric provider by 2040.
The 15-megawatt agreement will partially fill a projected power-generation gap created as Los Alamos County exits an agreement with the San Juan Generating Station (a coal-fired plant in the Farmington area) in 2022. Shelton said cost savings achieved in the Uniper agreement will help DPU remain competitive as it looks to source additional megawatts to meet projected demand.
“The agreement really is a win for the County on a number of fronts,” stated Shelton. “We’re achieving cost savings, working toward a smaller carbon footprint, and sourcing renewable energy supplies from within the state.”
Under the agreement, renewable energy will be sourced from two power-generation facilities now under construction in New Mexico. Solar power will be supplied from a project in northwest San Juan County with wind power coming from a generation center in central New Mexico.
According to Shelton, New Mexico’s natural wind and solar profiles complement one another well, making for a very robust and reliable power generation mix. During hours when there is insufficient generation from wind and solar sources to meet demand, Uniper will arrange alternate supply from its portfolio of traditional energy resources.
Uniper North America CEO Marc Merrill said a primary focus for his company’s business is to work with energy cooperatives and municipalities like Los Alamos as they search for energy resourcing solutions in a rapidly changing environment.
“More and more we are seeing municipalities proactively exploring customized energy supply solutions that can help them advance critical energy objectives related to cost efficiency, carbon reduction and security of supply,” said Merrill. “We enjoy working with forward-thinking communities like Los Alamos and anticipate executing a strong partnership with the County through this agreement.”
Uniper is an international energy company with around 12,000 employees in more than 40 countries. The company plans to make its power generation CO2-neutral in Europe by 2035. With about 35 GW of installed generation capacity, Uniper is among the largest global power generators. Its main activities include power generation as well as global energy trading, including a diversified gas portfolio that makes Uniper one of Europe’s leading gas companies. In 2020, Uniper had a gas turnover of more than 220 bcm. Uniper is also a reliable partner for municipalities, public utilities, and industrial companies for developing and implementing innovative, CO2-reducing solutions on their way to decarbonizing their activities. As a pioneer in the field of hydrogen, Uniper is active worldwide along the entire value chain and is implementing projects to make hydrogen usable as a mainstay of energy supply.
The company is headquartered in Düsseldorf and currently the third-largest listed German utility. Together with its main shareholder Fortum, Uniper is also the third-largest producer of CO2-free energy in Europe.
Uniper in North America
In North America, Uniper conducts sales, trading and marketing activities across a range of energy commodities in all major markets. The company provides sophisticated and reliable solutions to assist customers in meeting their decarbonization and wider energy needs. Uniper’s North America operations are located in Houston, Chicago and Calgary.