Xcel Energy today filed paperwork with the Public Utility Commission of Texas (PUC) and New Mexico Public Regulation Commission to seek approval for a fourth power generation unit at its Jones Generating Station near Lubbock.

The turbine will be a natural gas-fired combustion turbine similar to Unit Number 3 which came online at the Jones Generating Station last month.

Xcel Energy cites increased electrical demand from customers in northwest Texas and eastern New Mexico as the reason an additional generator needs to be built.

“In spite of the recent recession, electricity demand in our region never really slowed, and is now picking up rapidly as energy and agricultural industries expand across the region,” said Riley Hill, president and CEO of Southwestern Public Service Company, an Xcel Energy company.

Xcel proposes the natural-gas fired turbine be capable of generating 168 megawatts of power during a typical summer day.  That would be enough power to serve 126,000 typical homes.

Pending regulatory approval from both Texas and New Mexico, the new turbine, to be known as Jones Unit Number 4, is scheduled to be online by the summer of 2013.  The project is estimated to cost $117.6 million dollars.