Xcel Energy, a wind industry company with operations in the Oklahoma Panhandle won unanimous approval this week to build what is hailed as the largest wind farm in New Mexico….a farm that’s part of a $1.6 billion two-state project.
The New Mexico Public Regulation Commission gave the go-ahead for the 522-megawatt Sagamore Wind Project to be built on 100,000 acres some 20 miles south of Portales near the Texas state line. It’s estimated the Sagamore wind farm will produce $43 million in gross receipts tax revenue for New Mexico.
Xcel Energy also plans a second huge wind farm on the texas side of the line—-enough wind energy to power some 360,000 homes in Eastern New Mexico and Texas. The company anticipates getting approval next month from Texas regulators for the 478-megawatt Hale Wind Project near Plainview, Texas.
“This is a historic day for customers of Xcel Energy in New Mexico and Texas,” David Hudson, president of Xcel Energy for New Mexico and Texas, said in the statement. “These wind facilities will power the regional economy with energy from our abundant, fuel-free wind resource and save customers hundreds of millions of dollars in energy costs for decades to come.”
He also said once both farms are operational, consumers should see a drop in their fuel costs. The decline would be about $2 a month beginning in 2021.
Environmentalists are excited as well. The Western Resource Advocates said it will result in a yearly reduction of more than 2 million tons of carbon dioxide emissions.
“In addition, the project will avoid 3 million pounds of nitrogen oxides and 6 million pounds of sulfur dioxide emissions per year – both harmful air pollutants detrimental to public health,” the statement said.
New Mexico congressman Steve Pearce, a former Hobbs oil man who is also running for Governor praised the move.
“I have always believed that New Mexico should be the nation’s leader in energy development, which can only be accomplished by moving our state to an ‘all-the-above’ energy approach,” he said. “With this, states like New Mexico will contribute more to the responsible production and development of energy resources, generating more money for our schools, teachers, roads, and other essential services that our communities rely on.”