New Mexico Land Commissioner Stephanie Garcia Richard has signed a series of leases with the developer of a proposed wind farm that’s expected to generate at least $16 million in revenue for public schools and other beneficiaries.
The State Land Office announced the approval of the five leases with Pattern Renewables on Thursday. The company was the winning bidder in a February public auction for the right to develop nearly 26 square miles (67 square kilometers) in Torrance County and Lincoln counties.
The wind farm will be able to generate enough to power for more than 15,000 homes annually. It will connect to the planned Western Spirit transmission line.
The developer paid the Land Office an up-front bonus bid of $395,000 as a requirement of the auction. It also provided bonding coverage for the eventual decommissioning of the wind turbines that will make up the facility.
Garcia Richard said the recent oil crisis that has resulted from a global price war and the economic effects of the coronavirus have strengthened her dedication to shifting New Mexico away from its reliance on fossil fuels. She called the Western Spirit project a win-win, citing revenues and construction jobs.
The Land Office is currently processing over 40 applications for solar and wind projects on state trust land.