The Quay County Commission took steps Monday to help an existing wind farm near House expand as part of a potential $150 million injection into the local economy.
A pair of resolutions were introduced for industrial revenue bonds for both the current New Mexico Wind Energy Center and the proposed Casa Mesa Wind Project.
NextEra Energy Resources Project Director Christopher Cothran presented information about the company’s proposed upgrades and new project construction during the commission’s regular meeting.
Cothran said the existing 1.5-megawatt turbines at the New Mexico Wind Energy Center are not producing up to their potential. He said the plan is to replace the existing blades on the turbines with larger blades to increase the productivity by 20 percent.
Cothran said this increased production will result in the county’s intake from the project of up to $107 million. He said existing infrastructure at the plant will support the larger blades.
Cothran said the leases with the land owners have already been renewed. He said the company wants to ensure any land owner that has turbines on their property will be reimbursed for any property tax increase.
Cothran said the proposed Casa Mesa Wind project would be smaller than the NMWEC project but would include the newest technology and larger 2.5-megawatt turbines. He said the project would have 19 2.5-megawatt turbines and two 1.75-megawatt turbines.
This new project will also include new battery storage technology, Franklin McCasland, commission chair asked how the technology was new, and if there were any environmental concerns.
Cothran said the batteries are lithium ion storage units, which would not even be noticed and are a fairly new innovation in the industry. He said the wind farms can only generate 256 megawatts of power, and after 200 megawatts the energy would be sent to the batteries.
“This will allow us to continue to feed energy onto the grid when the wind is not turning (turbines),” Cothran added.
The county’s share off the IRB’s for this newest project will be more than $48 million , said Richard Primrose, county manager.
Primrose said the House School District will benefit $86,233 from the two projects scheduled for completion in 2018.
Cothran said this is just the first step in securing the ordinances from the county to proceed with the upgrades and new construction. He said the company will meet with school officials to discuss the projects.
“We are proud to work with this commission, who have been great stewards of the residents, land and resources of the county,” Cothran said.
In other business at Monday’s meeting:
• The commission held a public hearing to discuss the Quay County Infrastructure/Capital Improvement Plan.
• A public hearing was held for the closure of Quay Road 51 from Blocks 3400 to 3750. Primrose said the closure is at the request of the landowner and the road does not lead to any state land. The closure was approved in open session.
• Quay County Sheriff Russell Shafer requested the construction of a fenced, canopied area in the current courthouse parking lot for the securing of transport vehicles after-hours. Shafer said there have been fuel thefts and vandalism of the vehicles that has cost the department/county money. The commission approved a contract with Pacheco Construction and Trucking Inc. for the construction at $11,953.
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