Work underway on North America's largest single wind complex - Albuquerque Journal

Work underway on North America’s largest single wind complex

Pattern Energy is constructing four wind farms near Corona that will span Torrance, Lincoln and Guadalupe counties. (Courtesy of Pattern Energy)

Pattern Energy held a virtual groundbreaking Wednesday for its Western Spirit Wind Development project in central New Mexico – the largest single wind complex planned to date in North America.

Pattern is constructing four wind farms near Corona that will span Torrance, Lincoln and Guadalupe counties, plus a 155-mile transmission line to carry the electricity to a substation west of Albuquerque, and then onto California. The $2 billion endeavor will provide 1,050 megawatts of electricity when it comes online in late 2021, Pattern CEO Mike Garland told about 300 participants in the online ceremony.

“It’s a game changer,” Garland said. “At 1,000 MW, it’s like a large nuclear facility. That’s never been done before in North America.”

Larger wind complexes do operate in other states, but those are conglomerates of wind farms built over time. In contrast, Western Spirit facilities are being built all at the same time and all for delivery to a single point on the grid, said Pattern Vice President for North American Development Cary Kottler.

“It’s the largest single-phase project in the country until now,” Kottler told the Journal. “We’re breaking new ground here.”

It’s a turning point for New Mexico, not just because of its massive size, but because it includes construction of the state’s first new major transmission line dedicated to renewable energy. That’s critical to tap into the state’s vast wind and solar resources, said Sen. Martin Heinrich, D-N.M.

“The missing link to open up New Mexico’s full potential is building more transmission,” Heinrich told event participants. “It connects the dots between the best wind and solar resources available and the markets where it’s needed.”

The transmission line is actually joint public-private project with New Mexico’s Renewable Energy Transmission Authority, which owns the line. Once constructed, Public Service Co. of New Mexico will acquire it.

Western Spirit will supply electricity to the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power, and to the City of San Jose in northern California.

“It will bring reliable wind power from New Mexico to help power our city,” said LADWP General Manager Martin Adams. “331 MW will go to Los Angeles consumers, representing 6% of our entire renewable portfolio.”

Western Spirit will generate about $16 million in land lease payments for the State Land Office over the life of the project, and millions more for some 50 private landowners. It will employ about 1,000 people in construction this year, plus at least 60 permanent employees later.

Pattern has long-term plans to invest $6 billion more in another 3,000 MW of wind farms in central New Mexico, but that depends on more transmission being built.

Home » Business » Most Recent Biz News » Work underway on North America’s largest single wind complex


Albuquerque Journal and its reporters are committed to telling the stories of our community.

• Do you have a question you want someone to try to answer for you? Do you have a bright spot you want to share?
   We want to hear from you. Please email yourstory@abqjournal.com

taboola desktop

1
Shooting by Chaves County sheriff's deputies raises questions
ABQnews Seeker
Lapel camera footage shows deputies opening ... Lapel camera footage shows deputies opening fire on man
2
County closes Carlito Springs, bans open fires
ABQnews Seeker
Ban will remain in place until ... Ban will remain in place until further notice
3
Hidden fuels still a threat in northern blazes
ABQnews Seeker
Weather shifts to critical fire Weather shifts to critical fire
4
Voters to decide two Dems for District Court posts
2022 election
Winners of Division 10, 16 will ... Winners of Division 10, 16 will likely run unopposed in November
5
Two first-generation Americans face off in CD2 Democratic primary
2022 election
Vasquez, Patel vie for chance to ... Vasquez, Patel vie for chance to run against Yvette Herrell, the state's only Republican member of Congress
6
Guns found at ABQ, RR high schools
ABQnews Seeker
No injuries were reported as two ... No injuries were reported as two students face charges
7
APD arrests son in father's death, IDs unrelated homicide ...
ABQnews Seeker
Police looking into a possible homicide ... Police looking into a possible homicide Tuesday afternoon at a mobile home park on West Central
8
House race features past, present representatives
2022 election
Ex-legislator takes on Dem incumbent in ... Ex-legislator takes on Dem incumbent in primary
9
Feds: Ohio man plotted visit to Texas to kill ...
ABQnews Seeker
An Iraqi man who came to ... An Iraqi man who came to the United States two years ago and applied for asylum hatched a plot to assassinate former President George ...