The SunZia Wind project will have a total generating capacity of 3.5GW. Credit: GE Vernova.
The project will feature a mix of turbines from GE Vernova and Vestas. Credit: GE Vernova.
Power from the SunZia Wind project will be transferred to the market via the SunZia HV DC transmission line. Credit: knyazevfoto via Shutterstock.

The SunZia Wind project, located in New Mexico, US, is an onshore wind power development with a capacity of 3.5GW.

Pattern Energy, a utility-scale developer and operator based in the US, is developing the project along with the 885km-long SunZia transmission project.

The SunZia Wind project is set to become the largest wind power development in the Western Hemisphere when it is completed in 2026.

It will generate sufficient natural power to satisfy the needs of three million American households.

The total economic benefits generated by the two projects to New Mexico and Arizona are estimated at $20.5bn.

The projects will also create more than 2,000 jobs during construction and 100 permanent jobs once complete.

Project location

The SunZia Wind project is situated within the counties of Torrance, Lincoln, and San Miguel in New Mexico, US.

SunZia Wind project details

The SunZia Wind project will be equipped with 674 GE Vernova 3.6-154 wind turbines, contributing more than 2.4GW of power, and 242 Vestas V163-4.5MW turbines, together yielding 1.1GW of power.

GE’s 3.6-154 wind turbine is a next-generation product with a three-bladed, upwind, horizontal-axis design.

It has a rotor diameter of 154m. Key features include active yaw control, active blade pitch control, and a generator/power electronic converter system, with a multistage planetary/helical gear design for the gearbox.

The Vestas V163-4.5MW turbine is the company’s newest high-capacity factor turbine. The turbine represents an evolutionary enhancement of the V150-4.2MW and V150-4.5MW models, boasting a substantial rotor-size-to-rating ratio that facilitates up to a 10% increase in annual energy production.

It features a 163m rotor diameter and a swept area of 20,867m2, with aerodynamic brakes that include full blade feathering with three pitch cylinders, and a gearbox comprising two planetary stages and one helical stage.

Grid connection

The project will harness the SunZia HV DC transmission line to distribute renewable energy across the western US.

The transmission line will be pivotal in providing energy to customers in Arizona and California during peak demand periods in the early evening when the availability of renewable energy typically diminishes.

Project financing

Pattern Energy announced the finalisation of an $11bn non-recourse financing package for the two projects in December 2023.

The comprehensive arrangement includes an integrated construction loan and letter of credit facility, two separate term facilities, an operating phase letter of credit facility, an innovative tax equity term loan facility, and a holding company loan facility.

The consortium of banks and financial institutions that facilitated the approximately $8.8bn allocated to construction and term facilities includes BNP Paribas, Credit Agricole Corporate and Investment Bank, CoBank, ACB; Desjardins Group, Export Development Canada, ING Capital, Intesa Sanpaolo’s New York Branch, KFW IPEX-Bank, MUFG Bank, National Bank of Canada, Natixis Corporate & Investment Banking, Societe Generale, Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corporation, and Wells Fargo Securities, serving as the Initial Coordinating Lead Arrangers and joint bookrunners.

A $2.25bn tax equity term loan facility was also orchestrated by Banco Santander’s New York Branch and Santander Bank, with Bank of America, GE Vernova’s Financial Services business, Natixis Corporate & Investment Banking, and the Royal Bank of Canada participating as joint lead arrangers.

Additionally, Nomura Securities International and CPPIB Credit Investments III, a subsidiary of the Canada Pension Plan Investment Board, contributed to the final segment of the financing arrangement.

Power purchase agreement

Pattern Energy entered into a power purchase agreement with Shell Energy (North America) and the Regents of the University of California in May 2023, to supply a portion of the clean energy produced by the SunZia Wind project.

Contractors involved

GE Vernova was contracted to supply the wind turbines for the project in the fourth quarter of 2023.

The contract marks the largest single onshore wind turbine order in the company’s history, both in terms of the number of turbines and power generation capacity.

Vestas secured the contract to supply wind turbines for the project in December 2023.

The contract encompasses the supply, delivery, and commissioning of the turbines, along with a multiyear Active Output Management 5000 service agreement to ensure the optimised performance of the asset.

Quanta, an infrastructure services company, was contracted to perform various preconstruction activities for the SunZia Wind project.