- Aug 31, 2021 2:57 am GMT
There has been a spate of good news regarding the Western grid in August and this project in New Mexico joins the chorus...
Renewable power developer Pattern Energy is nearing completion of a mammoth wind project in east central New Mexico that, once fully operational in December, will constitute the largest single-phase renewable energy build-out in U.S. history.
The company broke ground last December on its Western Spirit project, which includes four wind farms with 1,050 megawatts of joint generating capacity, plus a new, 155-mile transmission line that will carry the electricity from New Mexico’s gusty eastern plains to California markets.
At more than 1 gigawatt, the Western Spirit farms will be twice the size of Xcel Energy’s 522-MW Sagamore Wind Farm in Roosevelt County, which was pegged as the state’s largest wind facility when it came online last December. Likewise, the new Western Spirit transmission line is the biggest such project to be constructed in New Mexico in 35 years.
Nearly all the electricity will be sold to California utilities under long-term power purchase agreements, or PPAs. That includes the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power and the city of San Jose in Northern California.
Both the transmission line and the wind farms are now about two-thirds complete, said Jeremy Turner, Pattern’s New Mexico project development director. The transmission line will be finished by November, and the wind farms will be fully commissioned by the end of December.
“We’re about 90% complete with constructing all the transmission foundations, and about 70% of the transmission structures themselves,” Turner told the Journal. “… Most of the (wind farm) turbines are now installed as well. We have less than 70 to go out of a total of 377 turbines.”
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