This is your Friday update, which takes a quick look at the week ahead and some developments that El Paso Matters is following.
New Solar Farm: El Paso Electric on Tuesday unveiled the utility’s newly built Buena Vista solar farm, which will begin sending electricity to El Paso homes and businesses later this month. The solar array – which is now the largest that EPE gets power from – spans 950 acres outside Chaparral, New Mexico, and has 120 megawatts of generation capacity, which is enough to power around 60,000 homes. The Buena Vista project also contains 50 megawatts of battery storage, which utility officials said is essential to continue growing solar generation. El Paso Electric will be able to charge the batteries when the sun is highest at midday, and then send the electricity stored in the batteries onto the grid in the evening hours after the sun has set. Buena Vista is the first in a series of large solar farms that El Paso Electric is adding to its power generation portfolio. The utility is planning to add the 150 megawatt Hecate solar farm in Santa Teresa, New Mexico, by June 2024, and another 430 megawatts of solar capacity in 2025.
Willie Cager Memorial: A celebration of life service for Texas Western College (now UTEP) basketball legend and El Paso icon Willie Cager is slated for 7 p.m. April 14 at the Don Haskins Center. The event is free and open to the public. Cager died on March 19, which was the 57th anniversary of TWC’s historic victory over Kentucky in the 1966 men’s basketball national championship game. He was 81. Cager appeared in 77 games for the Miners from 1964-68, averaging 8.5 points and 5.3 rebounds under the direction of Hall of Fame coach Don Haskins. He collected eight points and six rebounds in TWC’s championship game. The Miners made history by becoming the first team to start five black players in the title game. Originally from the Bronx, New York, Cager remained in El Paso after playing for the Miners.
Commissioner Will Not Seek Reelection: After 40 years of public service, including 30 years as a police officer and the past 10 as an El Paso County Commissioner, Carlos Leon will not seek reelection. His term is set to expire on Dec. 31, 2024. “After 40-plus years of public service with the El Paso Police Department and El Paso County, it is time for me to spend more time with my family and to find other ways to continue serving the people of El Paso,” Leon said in a statement.
Lee and Beulah Moor Expansion: Last week, the Lee and Beulah Moor Children’s Home broke ground on the construction of two new cottages at its Central El Paso facility, 1100 E. Cliff Dive. Along with the two new cottages, the complex is also getting a new kitchen, commissary, workshop and a dining facility. The new cottages will house 16 additional children and adolescents. The children’s home has served more than 31,000 children and families since it opened in 1959.
Disclosure: El Paso Electric Co. is financial supporter of El Paso Matters. Financial supporters play no role in El Paso Matters’ journalism.