Renewable Energy - Wind
ECMD Contact: Erica Velarde
|Wind Energy Working Group information - click here|
Wind is a proven, cost-effective, and environmentally attractive source of power. As a result wind power capacity has been growing rapidly in recent years. With an excellent wind resource, New Mexico is home to much wind power development.
Wind Power Plants in New Mexico
New Mexico has a total of 750 megawatts of wind power capacity installed at nine wind power plants. The first utility-scale wind power plant in New Mexico, near House, commenced operation in July 2003. Known as the New Mexico Wind Energy Center, it is 204 megawatts in capacity. All of its generated electricity is purchased by PNM. Energy produced at the New Mexico Wind Energy Center will replace an equivalent amount of power coming from facilities powered by coal and gas. Wind now comprises ten percent of PNM's overall electrical energy sold in New Mexico.
The New Mexico Wind Energy Center will bring more than $40 million into rural De Baca and Quay counties over 25 year. This includes $450,000 per year in payments in lieu of taxes to be made to the county governments and school districts; about $550,000 per year in lease payments to landowners; and an estimated $500,000 in salaries for the permanent jobs to be created.
The utility-scale wind power plants in New Mexico are:
Maps provided by U.S. Department of Energy - Wind Powering America
Through its wind power program, ECMD has performed a critical role in the development of wind power in the state. The information ECMD provides, especially wind data, has been instrumental in the development of utility-scale wind power plants.
ECMD's Wind Power Program has provided detailed wind resource assessments of the state and high quality wind data to over 40 wind power developers, PNM, land owners and others. ECMD provided three years of wind speed data collected at seven promising sites and eight years of data from an eighth permanent monitoring site. In 2005 ECMD installed a permanent, 100-meter tall wind monitoring tower to provide improved wind data for the industry. This project was motivated by the fact that modern turbines have rotors up to 100 meters or higher. Wind data at 40 meters must be extrapolated, reducing the accuracy. Also, a permanent installation will allow future projects the opportunity to correlate their on-site data to our long term data in real time, thus reducing the monitoring period required and improving accuracy. Finally, this permanent monitoring tower will reveal any trends due to climate change. In 2011 ECMD donated the monitoring tower to Mesalands Community College in Tucumcari for use in its North American Wind Research and Training Center. Continuing detailed wind energy resource assessment will help promote further commercial development.
In partnership with the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, ECMD contracted to have TrueWind Solutions, LLC produce a high resolution wind map of the state using the latest techniques. Maps of wind speed are available at heights of 30, 50, 70 and 100 meters. A wind power map is available at 50 meters. The map is interactive with many GIS layers.
ECMD'S Wind Power Program has provided studies and reports of the potential economic benefits of wind power to five counties: Eddy, Otero, Quay, Lea, and Colfax. The program has also provided the following products:
The potential for electricity generation from wind is enormous in some areas of New Mexico, especially on the eastern plains. New Mexico ranks twelfth in wind electric potential and is among twelve states in the midsection of the country that, together, have 90% of the total commercial wind electric potential in the contiguous United States. The annual wind energy potential of New Mexico has been estimated to be 435 billion kWh. New Mexico has the potential to produce many times its own electrical consumption, which puts it in a position to export wind electric power.
New Mexico has a state tax incentive in the form of a corporate Renewable Energy Production Tax Credit of one cent per kWh. ECMD administers the tax credit, a significant incentive for wind power development.
Other incentives in New Mexico include Industrial Revenue Bond financing that provides relief from property tax, and Gross Receipts Tax Exemption that allows an exemption from the gross receipts tax for certain wind equipment. New Mexico has a Renewable Portfolio Standard that requires investor-owned utilities to procure or generate 20 percent renewable energy by 2020. Rural electric cooperatives are required to generate 10 percent renewable energy by 2020. The rule also requires utilities to offer an optional green power tariff so that those customers willing to pay more for renewable power will be able to purchase larger amounts of renewable power. Green power tariffs are offered by PNM, Southwestern Public Service, El Paso Electric, and Kit Carson Electric Cooperative.