Southern, Ted Turner acquire solar plant

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Southern, Ted Turner acquire solar plant

Southern Co. and former cable TV mogul Ted Turner have teamed up to acquire the largest solar power plant in New Mexico.

Southern and Turner Renewable Energy said the Macho Springs Solar Facility. on 600 acres in Luna County, has been under construction since July 2013 and was scheduled to begin commercial operations this week.

The facility was purchased from First Solar, which built the plant and will operate and maintain it. Financial terms were not disclosed.

The 50-megawatt Macho Springs Solar Facility is expected to generate enough electricity to power more than 18.000 homes. El Paso Electric has a 20-year agreement to purchase electricity generated by the plant.

The New Mexico acquisition is the second-largest of the seven projects the Southern Power-Turner Renewable Energy partnership has entered since it was created in 2010. The partnership focuses primarily on developing and investing in solar projects in the Southwest.

“The acquisition of the Macho Springs facility is another positive step in advancing the development of solar technologies,” Turner said in a statement.

Southern Chairman Thomas Fanning said the deal “demonstrates our commitment to the full portfolio of energy resources.”

Southern’s Atlanta-based Georgia Power unit already plans a tenfold increase in the amount of solar power it uses by the end of 2016.

Earlier this week, state regulators approved Georgia Power’s deal to use wind energy for the first time, relying on power generated at wind farms in Oklahoma.

Staff writer Matt Kempner contributed to this report.

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