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NM auctions off 40,000 acres for $1,000 for major wind farm

Craig Johnson, a State Land Office auctioneer, supervised the bidding on the steps of the Torrance County courthouse. The outcome, however, was a foregone conclusion, in that Pacific Wind Development was the only bidder to submit the required documents – and nearly $89,000 in deposits and fees – before the 4 p.m. cutoff on Sept. 13.

Nearly 40,000 acres of state-owned land were auctioned off last week in a lease agreement for the development of El Cabo, a huge wind farm planned for central Torrance County.

Pacific Wind Development LLC, a subsidiary of Iberdrola Renewables, submitted the only bid – $1,000.

The state land, in conjunction with some 87,000 acres of private property, will form the site of New Mexico’s largest wind farm.

Officials say it could eventually provide electrical power to hundreds of thousands of homes, greatly reduce greenhouse gas emissions, save millions of gallons of water a year and create hundreds of jobs.

The site lies about 12 1/2miles northeast of Willard. The state land includes 5,400 acres – mostly in Torrance County with some spillover into Santa Fe and San Miguel counties – for a transmission route from the actual wind farm.

Craig Johnson, a State Land Office auctioneer, supervised the bidding on the steps of the Torrance County courthouse. The outcome, however, was a foregone conclusion, in that Pacific Wind Development was the only bidder to submit the required documents – and nearly $89,000 in deposits and fees – before the 4 p.m. cutoff on Sept. 13.

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Nearly 40,000 acres of state-owned land were auctioned off last week in a lease agreement for the development of El Cabo, a huge wind farm planned for central Torrance County.

Pacific Wind Development LLC, a subsidiary of Iberdrola Renewables, submitted the only bid – $1,000.

The state land, in conjunction with some 87,000 acres of private property, will form the site of New Mexico’s largest wind farm.

Officials say it could eventually provide electrical power to hundreds of thousands of homes, greatly reduce greenhouse gas emissions, save millions of gallons of water a year and create hundreds of jobs.

The site lies about 12 1/2miles northeast of Willard. The state land includes 5,400 acres – mostly in Torrance County with some spillover into Santa Fe and San Miguel counties – for a transmission route from the actual wind farm.

Craig Johnson, a State Land Office auctioneer, supervised the bidding on the steps of the Torrance County courthouse. The outcome, however, was a foregone conclusion, in that Pacific Wind Development was the only bidder to submit the required documents – and nearly $89,000 in deposits and fees – before the 4 p.m. cutoff on Sept. 13.

Mark Stacy, Iberdrola Renewables’ project director, submitted the bid for Pacific Wind, while about 20 interested parties looked on under sunny skies. Iberdrola, a Spanish company with U.S. headquarters in Portland, Ore., is one of the largest renewable-energy companies in the world. It had long expressed an interest in including state land in the project area.

According to a statement released by Public Lands Commissioner Ray Powell, the project could ultimately generate 1,000 megawatts of electricity – enough to supply up to 400,000 homes.

The term of the lease – details of which are to be worked out over the next few months – is 45 years, and will include three phases: initial, operations and decommissioning. Lease rates would range from $2 to $3 per acre during the initial phase and up to $12 or more per acre during the height of the operations phase.

A few years ago, Iberdrola said it planned to invest $600 million in El Cabo, which was to have 149 wind generators.

In 2011, the Torrance County Commission paved the way by approving a special use district for the company, and this past summer OK’d a $450 million industrial bond issue to support the project. If all goes smoothly, construction could begin late this year or early next year, with production starting in 2014 or 2015.

Iberdrola’s Mark Stacy thanked the State Land Office, “whose vision and commitment to the sustainable development of state land encourages businesses like ours to explore investing here.”


Source: http://www.abqjournal.com/2...

SEP 27 2013
http://www.windaction.org/posts/38682-nm-auctions-off-40-000-acres-for-1-000-for-major-wind-farm
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