Copyright © 2020 Albuquerque Journal
New Mexico’s billowing eastern plains offer immense wind energy potential, but the massive power lines needed to transport that electricity are generating a gust of opposition in some rural communities.
The most recent dust-up involves the Western Spirit Transmission Line, which the state’s Renewable Energy Transmission Authority and private company Pattern Development are jointly building. The 150-mile line, expected to come online next year, will carry more than 800 megawatts of electricity from massive wind farms – still under construction by Pattern in central New Mexico near Corona – for sale in western states.
The five-member Valencia County Commission voted unanimously Jan. 15 to oppose the project, backed by a group of local landowners and residents that fears Western Spirit’s huge towers and miles of high-voltage lines will spoil their rural quality of life by obstructing pristine vistas, impacting wildlife and undermining tourism-related income and property values.