When it comes to wind energy development in New Mexico, things have been pretty quiet for a while – which might be hard to believe, given the 60-mph winds that have sliced through the state lately.
Five years ago, the American Wind Energy Association ranked the state sixth in the U.S. for installed generating capacity. That slipped to 17th as of 2011.
The major issue, as Senior Reporter Kevin Robinson-Avila found in the Business Weekly’s March 9 Energy Focus, is transmission capacity.
New Mexico doesn’t have enough of it. It’s a big part of the reason why the state has no new wind projects in development.
But that could change. The Tres Amigas Superstation, slated to break ground near Clovis this summer, will add 750 megawatts of transmission capacity by 2015 and up to five gigawatts a few years later.
Several other big projects on the drawing board could add additional capacity in years to come.
The National Renewable Energy Laboratory in Colorado says New Mexico has enough potential wind energy to generate about 75 times more electricity than the state needs, which could mean jobs and investment possibilities in the Land of Enchantment.
As the wind howls outside and slings dust at us, it’s intriguing to ponder how the state might put this powerful force of nature to work.
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