The Western Spirit wind project involves the development of four wind farms in New Mexico, US. The combined capacity of the project will be more than 1,050MW.
The four wind farms will collectively form the biggest single-phase renewable power build-out in the country, providing electricity to 590,000 homes in the US. The project is also considered to be the biggest wind farm development in New Mexico.
The Western Spirit wind project is owned by Pattern Energy, which is also responsible for the development of the wind farms. The project entered full construction phase after reaching financing closure in January 2021. The wind farms are scheduled to begin commercial operations by the end of 2021.
The wind power projects will generate more than 1,000 jobs over an 18-month construction period and approximately 100 full-time permanent jobs upon completion.
The Western Spirit wind projects are expected to provide annual property tax revenues worth $3m for the three counties and two school districts in the project area.
The wind farms will be situated across the counties of Guadalupe, Lincoln, and Torrance in central New Mexico. They will be spread across 118,168ha of land held by 40 landowners.
The Western Spirit wind project will use 377 wind turbines, with a capacity ranging between 2.3MW and 2.8MW, for four wind farms, namely 105MW Duran Mesa, 272MW Tecolote, 349MW Red Cloud, and the 324MW Clines Corners.
Located near Corona, Lincoln County, the Duran Mesa wind farm will supply electricity to Silicon Valley Clean Energy (SVCE) and Monterey Bay Community Power (MBCP) as part of 15-year power purchase agreements (PPAs) signed by Pattern Energy.
The Tecolote, Red Cloud, and Clines Corners wind farms are being built in Torrance and Guadalupe counties.
The Clines Corner wind farm development across 49,371ha of land was acquired by Pattern Energy in June 2020.
The Red Cloud wind farm will supply electricity to 222,300 homes in Los Angeles under a renewable energy agreement signed in October 2020. It will be the biggest, highest capacity, and lowest cost wind farm in the renewable energy portfolio of the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power (LADWP).
The wind farms are part of a larger group of wind development called the 2.2GW Corona wind projects.
The wind farms will be developed in conjunction with the Western Spirit transmission line, a 241km-long, 345kV AC transmission line, which will connect the Western Spirit wind projects to the existing grid in northwestern New Mexico. It will begin at Corona and terminate at the Rio Puerco substation near Albuquerque.
The Western Spirit transmission line is being developed by Pattern Energy and the New Mexico Renewable Energy Transmission Authority (RETA). It will be acquired by the Public Service Company of New Mexico (PNM) upon its commissioning.
Blattner Energy was selected as the construction contractor for the Western Spirit project.
GE Renewable Energy was awarded a contract to supply 377 2MW wind turbines and provide maintenance services for a period of ten years.
GE Energy Financial Services will provide tax equity to the project. GE Energy Consulting was engaged to provide critical grid modelling and analysis, as well as power system and equipment studies for the wind farms, new transmission line, substations, and series capacitor bank.
The construction contract for the Western Spirit transmission line was awarded to a partnership of MMR and EC Source, a subsidiary of MasTec.
Pattern Energy’s operational power generation portfolio includes 28 renewable energy facilities with a total capacity of 4.4GW across the US, Canada, and Japan.
The company has more than 4.5GW of wind farms in operation or development in the New Mexico region, representing planned investments of approximately $9.5bn.
Its major wind power projects in New Mexico include the 325MW Broadview wind farm (commissioned in 2017), the 220MW Grady wind farm (commissioned in 2019), and the ongoing 3GW SunZia wind farm.
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