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Wind farm projects move ahead slowly

Under state regulations, utility companies in New Mexico must produce 20 percent of total energy needs from renewable resources by 2020, at least 20 percent of that from wind. For all the support of wind energy, some people still worry about the impact of a string of massive wind farms across New Mexico. They believe the rules governing wind farm placement need to carefully consider the impacts.

Gary Anderson's small wind turbine is a miniature version of the giant turbines used at utility-scale wind farms. New Mexico has half a dozen operating wind farms now, and several more are planned. New Mexico ranks 12th in the U.S. in potential wind energy capacity, with 49,700 megawatts possible, according to the American Wind Energy Association. Under state regulations, utility companies in New Mexico must produce 20 percent of total energy needs from renewable resources by 2020, at least 20 percent of that from wind.

For all the support of wind energy, some people still worry about the impact of a string of massive wind farms across New Mexico. They believe the rules governing wind farm placement need to carefully consider the impacts on landscape, migratory birds, cultural resources and nearby residents. A couple of wind farms proposed in Northern New Mexico less than a mile from existing homes has prompted opposition, even from people who pride themselves on supporting renewable energy.

Taos Wind Power

A proposal by a local Taos banker and his partners at Taos Wind Power to install up to 65 wind turbines atop 285-foot towers on land west of Taos is awaiting a court... more [truncated due to possible copyright]  

Gary Anderson's small wind turbine is a miniature version of the giant turbines used at utility-scale wind farms. New Mexico has half a dozen operating wind farms now, and several more are planned. New Mexico ranks 12th in the U.S. in potential wind energy capacity, with 49,700 megawatts possible, according to the American Wind Energy Association. Under state regulations, utility companies in New Mexico must produce 20 percent of total energy needs from renewable resources by 2020, at least 20 percent of that from wind.

For all the support of wind energy, some people still worry about the impact of a string of massive wind farms across New Mexico. They believe the rules governing wind farm placement need to carefully consider the impacts on landscape, migratory birds, cultural resources and nearby residents. A couple of wind farms proposed in Northern New Mexico less than a mile from existing homes has prompted opposition, even from people who pride themselves on supporting renewable energy.

Taos Wind Power

A proposal by a local Taos banker and his partners at Taos Wind Power to install up to 65 wind turbines atop 285-foot towers on land west of Taos is awaiting a court hearing and county approval.

Taos Wind Power was seeking financial backing to place the wind farm on land owned by Eliu Romero. Residents of a small off-grid subdivision near the proposed wind farm protested loudly against it. The Cerro San Cristobal Ranch and Cielito Home and Land Owners Association appealed a Taos County Planning Commission approval of the wind farm permit in December 2008 to the County Commission. The county and the company also will face each other in District Court over a separate wind-tower issue.

Bill Lockwood of Taos Wind Power said things are moving ahead slowly, but the company hopes to break ground in a year.

San Miguel County

San Miguel County is still mulling over revisions to its wind energy ordinance based on the concerns of citizens near Ribera who live near the site of a proposed 50-turbine wind farm. The county was one of the first in the state to have an ordinance specifically regulating wind energy farms, but some people believe it did not go far enough.

Invenergy, a company with offices in Boulder, Colo., is proposing to place the massive wind turbines atop the mesa that overlooks villages scattered along the Pecos River. The property is state trust land managed by the State Land Office.

Residents living in off-grid homes on the mesa and those living a mile away at the base of the mesa are concerned with the impacts of the turbines. Neither the county planning director or Invenergy returned calls for comment on the status of the proposed wind farm.


Source: http://www.santafenewmexica...

JUL 19 2009
http://www.windaction.org/posts/21286-wind-farm-projects-move-ahead-slowly
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