New Mexico’s fastest growing city will boast the latest green energy infrastructure, advanced intelligent transportation systems (ITS) to speed traffic, and technology to speed first responders where they need to be.

What it won’t have, is people.

The “city” is the Center for Innovation, Testing & Evaluation (CITE) , a $1 billion effort being developed by Washington state-based energy and infrastructure consultant Pegasus Global Holdings on 15 acres near Hobbs in southeast New Mexico.

CITE is designed to serve as a multi-faceted proving ground for new and emerging energy, transportation, communication, and resource technologies that can be adapted and integrated into existing cities and suburbs.

To provide the most realistic setting for conducting tests and evaluations, CITE’s will feature City Lab, an integrated physical facility with everything one would expect to find in typical 35,000-person American citystandard roads, buildings, power, water, telecommunications, and operating systems, as well as suburban and rural areas.

So that the research can be conducted under the most controlled conditions, CITE will have no residents, essentially making it a high-tech “ghost town” populated only by researchers and support staff based in a Research Campus at the entrance to CITE that will contain a variety of laboratories, offices, conference and administrative spaces.

Despite the absence of  “average citizens,” City Lab will contain a variety of buildings and houses furnished with appliances, plumbing, and heating and cooling systems. The “ghost town” conditions will make testing of things such as self-driving cars, building materials, smart grid technologies, and resource management safer and less disruptive.

Underground, CITE’s Backbone operations and maintenance system will contain the facility’s flexible data, energy, and water grid. The Backbone too will be utilized for research, with a hub that includes combines operations and data management centers with lab facilities. The privately-owned and financed CITE envisions other public and private partners developing their own labs at the facility.

Plans call for CITE to become operational within two years of its scheduled June 30 groundbreaking.