Library from New Mexico
New Mexico regulators on Wednesday approved a $1.6 billion plan that calls for building two massive wind farms along the Texas-New Mexico border.
A blow has been struck against two wind farm projects in eastern Torrance County.
The U.S. Air Force determined 61 of the proposed 114 turbines would get in the way of military training flight paths could not be completed. The conclusion irked New Mexico State Land Office Commissioner Aubrey Dunn, who called the decision "military tyranny." Dunn was told just a few weeks ago that nearly half the turbines could not be built.
But Hurst said it would violate legal principles that prohibit “retroactive rate making,” since it establishes an “interim rate” for the wind farms before the commission has actually approved new rates.
“If you put a wind farm down here in New Mexico, you might not only be whacking New Mexico breeding birds, but you might be whacking birds that are breeding in Alaska or the Canadian Arctic,” Roemer said.
Indeed, the Sagamore project, for all its heralded economic benefit, has faced headwinds. And as the parties prepare to go before a hearing examiner later this month, the utility has offered revisions to its ambitious proposal, hoping to allay regulatory staff reservations and conservationist concerns and ultimately gain approval for what would be the largest wind farm in New Mexico.
The company says the project could save customers of Xcel subsidiary Southwest Public Service Co., about $2.8 billion in electric costs over 30 years by offsetting higher fuel costs from natural gas and other sources. But PRC utility staff say the projected savings aren’t guaranteed. T
County sought balance between wind development and concerns of residents
BOEM’s failure to consider the impacts to fisheries, safety, navigation and other natural resources in the NY WEA prior to moving forward with the leasing process also violates the Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act (OCSLA), which charges BOEM with considering and providing for existing ocean users. And BOEM’s actions violate the Administrative Procedure Act, which prohibits agencies from acting in ways that are arbitrary, capricious, and contrary to law.
Representatives of two companies lay out plans for use of wind power in Lincoln County; Commercial operations must be underway by late 2020 Wind farms will allow families to preserve their ranches and pass them down to children and grandchildren, supporters say.
Paul Gessing, president of the Rio Grande Foundation, has argued that renewable energy standards drive up electricity prices. He contends that New Mexico’s adoption of the renewable energy standard in 2007 — along with regulations spelling out how much wind and solar could be a part of an investor-owned utility’s portfolio — led to a spike in electricity prices.
The construction of the massive El Cabo Wind Farm in southern Torrance County is expected to miss the December 2015 deadline to receive the wind energy tax credits after delays with transmission companies caused the project to come to a standstill, said Mark Stacy, director of Iberdrola Renewables.
The latest New Mexico wind farm will be located in Union County near Clayton on state trust and private land. It will be the eighth wind-energy project on state trust land, and State Land Commissioner Ray Powell expects several more to follow.
New Mexico State Land Commissioner Ray Powell said Tuesday he has signed a lease agreement for a 285-turbine wind farm in Union County that could eventually generate up to 500 megawatts of electricity.
I started thinking about it in a larger context, how the Great Plains have been this really abused area of the country. You can go back to the buffalo hunts and the genocides of Native Americans. We have nuclear weapons out there. We’ve drilled and spilled oil and gas, and now we’re fracking and building wind turbines. Most people don’t see this area. It’s flyover country. When you spend a lot of time there it really hits home what we’re doing in the name of consumption and the whole sociological impact people have on the environment.”
The New Mexico Public Regulation Commission reversed an earlier decision Wednesday, voting 3-2 to make the value of solar energy equal to the value of wind energy for the state’s power companies. In November, the commission voted to make 1 kilowatt-hour of solar energy worth two renewable energy certificates. It left wind at a 1-to-1 ratio.
The rule shields producers enrolled in the plan and operating in compliance with it from punishment for the accidental death or disturbance of the bird the EPA has targeted for listing as threatened under the Endangered Species Act.
The rule, passed less than a year ago, establishes how much wind, solar, and other forms of renewable energy can be added by utilities in order to comply with the state’s renewable portfolio standard — a law requiring a certain percentage of the state’s electricity come from clean energy sources. After the PRC’s vote, one kilowatt-hour of wind energy will still be worth one certificate. But one kilowatt-hour of solar energy will now be worth two certificates, and one kilowatt-hour of other types of renewable energy, such as biomass or geothermal, will be worth three certificates.
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.
State regulators voted unanimously Wednesday to cancel a planned public hearing next week over a controversial rule that defines and caps the costs of renewable energy to public utilities and their customers. The New Mexico Public Regulation Commission also voted to launch a whole new rule-making for the so-called reasonable cost threshold.