The $865-million Sagamore Wind Project planned for rural eastern New Mexico is expected to go online by the end of 2020 and power 194,000 homes. But the project has hit a snag with the New Mexico Public Regulation Commission.
John J. Reynolds of the PRC utility division testified recently that the benefit to New Mexico ratepayers is uncertain, according to the Santa Fe New Mexican.
Southwestern Public Service Co., a subsidiary of Xcel, is behind the massive wind project, which was already delayed by regulators earlier this year.
According to the New Mexican, Reynolds questioned the use of New Mexico’s tax credits to fund the project’s $1.6 billion price tag without the certainty that it would save customers here money. A public hearing on Sagamore is scheduled to begin either Nov. 28 or Nov. 29, according to the New Mexican.
Wes Reeves, a spokesman with Xcel in Texas and New Mexico, told Business First on Monday the company is hopeful a settlement can be reached before the hearing.
“Parties to the case, including the PRC staff, have stated that they find the projected benefits too speculative. In response, we have amended our application to provide additional customer cost protections and assurances on the level of savings,” Reeves said.
The 522-megawatt wind facility planned for New Mexico’s Roosevelt County is the largest of two facilities that are part of the same proposal that will be constructed and owned by Xcel Energy that will cost together $1.6 billion. The second called “Hale” is located in Hale County, Texas.
Reeves told Business First in June Sagamore’s completion date will not be delayed as long as the NMPRC reaches a consensus on it by March of next year.
Reeves told Business First in October the wind farm is slated to bring with it 20 to 30 full-time positions when it opens. A wind turbine technician makes around $52,000 a year, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Minneapolis-based Xcel’s Southwestern Public Service Co. ranks No. 3 on Business First’s Utility Companies and Cooperatives list by number of customers at a little over 118,000.
|Wind Watch relies entirely
on User Funding