Articles from New Mexico
Scientists and residents of San Miguel County dueled for hours Tuesday night over an ordinance to govern development of wind energy facilities, with the San Miguel County Commission ultimately postponing any action until next week.
At issue is whether land owners may place windmills in San Miguel County, New Mexico including near the town of Cerritos, New Mexico. The Board of County Commissioners heard final testimony December 14th, 2010, about where in the county, if anywhere, windmills may be placed. Angry neighbors and even students showed up to protest the windmill project.
A proposed wind farm by Chicago-based Invenergy, on mesa-top trust land leased from the New Mexico State Land Office, prompted an immediate backlash from nearby villages and a call for more space between the farm and private homes. The residents living near and on Bernal Mesa, where the wind farm is proposed, want a three-mile setback from the closest residences.
Electricity rates could increase 1 percent annually until 2020 for residential customers and 2 to 2.5 percent for industrial customers, said Mike Sims, generation manager for the electric utility. The average residential customer pays $70 each month for electricity. "It's going to definitely increase our costs," Sims said.
As more giant wind farms are erected, an increasing number of hawks are slashed and killed by turbine blades. Oil and gas exploration is fragmenting many hawk habitats. Urban-suburban growth, pesticides, herbicides, electricity lines and climate change are other stressors, he said. The only way to understand what is happening to hawks is to collect data over many decades.
One of the concerns expressed by area residents was building wind turbines on their property, Bauer said. Bauer said Cannon AFB officials must be notified if turbines are built, because anything taller 75 feet tall can potentially interfere with the base’s radar systems.
Opposition to a possible Invenergy development in San Miguel started mounting two years ago as word spread that the company was looking to lease land and obtain easements from area residents. It was also in 2008 that Invenergy signed a two-year lease option with the State Land Office for 7,063 acres of state trust land atop a mesa near Bernal.
The company that plans a wind farm in the Valley says a proposed three-mile setback from homes would kill the project. Mark Jacobson, business development director for Chicago-based Invenergy, told the San Miguel County Commission this week that the three-mile rule would be far more than what other counties with wind farms require.
An inducement resolution to pave the way for the Macho Springs Wind Energy Project was unanimously approved during a Thursday special meeting of the Luna County Board of Commissioners. The resolution is the first of many steps to help Oregon-based Element Power erect 28 wind turbines in Northeastern Luna County.
A local rancher, Joe Bill Nunn, whose family owns ranches in the area, voiced concerns that wind turbine development could not only hurt the aesthetic value of the grasslands, but the property value as well. "We don't want to sell our property," Nunn told commissioners. "We plan on dying on this land, but we want to preserve the value of these lands.
After receiving criticism about some of the proposed regulations for a Lincoln County ordinance to govern wind farms, commissioners decided to postpone action and allow a citizens committee and the county attorney to take a stab at narrowing down disagreements.
High voltage transmission lines were the topic of discussion at a public scoping meeting put on by the Bureau of Land Management, the lead agency that oversees the environmental impact statement and possible resource management plans for the SunZia Southwest Transmission Project. About 90 residents attended the open house Tuesday, April 27, hoping to gather additional information.
With plans for windfarms in northern Lincoln County percolating, a public hearing will be scheduled during the May meeting of the Lincoln County Commission on a proposed ordinance to regulate the towers. Commissioners reviewed the draft last month, but took no action.
A proposal for a grid of 400-foot-high wind turbines miles northwest of Taos has hit some turbulence. The wind farm plan by Taos Wind Power LLC, was blocked by the Taos County Commission last week when it reversed earlier approval by the county Planning Commission.
New Mexico's Public Regulation Commission ruled yesterday that companies that place renewable energy installations on the property of a customer and then sell the energy from the installation to the customer shouldn't be regulated as public utilities. ...renewable energy companies and advocates protested, saying the regulation of such on-site energy production would harm the burgeoning clean energy economy.
A year after it was granted preliminary approval, a proposed wind farm near Tres Piedras met with denial by the Taos County Commission. ...The county's formal findings and conclusions will be brought before the commission for approval Jan. 5, after which the applicant will have 30 days to appeal the commission's decision. "There were a lot of problems with that application," Martínez said. "I think it would be irresponsible to come in with the same application."
New Mexico has huge potential to produce electricity from renewable sources but a small window to develop transmission lines to deliver that power to customers, a lawmaker said Tuesday after listening to a report on the issue. The state Renewable Energy Transmission Authority presented its first statewide transmission report to an interim legislative committee.
Moving renewable energy resources from where they could be produced to where they have a market is the goal of one of the biggest electric transmission projects conceived of in the United States. The name of the project is SunZia Southwest and what the company wants to do is take a fiber cable 460 miles from the southeastern New Mexico area to the Phoenix area. ...The ballpark figure for the completed power transmission line is $1.5 billion, Crane said. "This is a very big project," Crane said. "It is important to understand the primary purpose is to enable renewable resources.
A power transmission line that could be the first in the United States to transport renewable energy might pass through Las Cruces and White Sands Missile Range, according to preliminary plans of the SunZia Transmission Project. A public scoping meeting was conducted Monday at Court Youth Center to provide interested residents with information about the project. Plans call for wind energy generated in east-central New Mexico, near Clovis, to be transported 460 to 560 miles to a substation in south-central Arizona.
Bayshore environmental group the Hazlet Area Quality of Life Alliance (HAQLA) is opposing a proposal that would place a 380-foot-tall windmill near a residential area along the coastline. HAQLA President John M. Curran III has written to the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) and the Monmouth County Freeholders in opposition to the wind turbine project proposed for Union Beach ...Curran calls for a countywide moratorium on wind towers/turbines "until the county and towns establish effective, controlling ordinances and regulations" governing renewable energy projects.