Work on New Mexico’s largest wind farm is underway

Work is underway on the latest big wind farm to go up in eastern New Mexico, a 522-megawatt Sagamore Wind farm being built by Xcel Energy.

The farm will boost the energy supply not only in eastern New Mexico but in West Texas and should be operational by the end of 2020.

Xcel Energy will invest close to $900 million to erect 240 Vestas turbines capable of generating 522 megawatts of electricity, enough to power 194,000 typical homes annually. Upon completion in late 2020, Xcel officials say it will be the single largest wind energy plant in New Mexico.

The fact that there will be no fuel costs associated with the operation of Sagamore, coupled with savings generated from the federal production tax credit, will make Sagamore one of the lowest-cost power plants on Xcel Energy’s regional system, said David Hudson, president of Xcel.

Additionally, Sagamore won’t use water in its production of emissions-free electricity. Most area power generating facilities require groundwater to cool the steam cycle, supplies of which are becoming increasingly difficult to procure on the semi-arid plains of eastern New Mexico and West Texas.

The initial work at the site, which covers more than 100,000 acres, involves construction of roads and preparations to build the 240 foundations that will support the turbines.

Chicago-based Invenergy developed Sagamore before entering into an agreement with Xcel Energy in 2017 for Xcel Energy to acquire the project and erect the turbines. Sagamore is the largest and final component of a 1,230-megawatt expansion of wind energy on Xcel Energy’s New Mexico-Texas system.

As part of the wind energy expansion that brought about Hale and Sagamore, Xcel Energy also began purchasing 230 megawatts of wind energy from two wind farms in the region owned and operated by NextEra Energy Resources. NextEra Energy Resources is a major wind farm operator in Oklahoma.

Xcel Energy has been purchasing wind energy for customers in New Mexico and Texas for almost 20 years, but before Hale and Sagamore, has never directly built or owned wind farms in this region.