Western Spirit Wind
The Western Spirit Wind project is comprised of four separate wind farms located in Guadalupe, Lincoln and Torrance Counties in Central New Mexico. These four projects combined will total more than 1,050 megawatts of clean renewable energy and will combine to be the largest wind farm ever constructed in New Mexico.
~1000 jobs at peak construction
~100 full-time permanent jobs
1050+ MW total capacity
Western Spirit Wind will have far reaching economic benefits for the local area and is projected to provide nearly $3 million per year in new property tax revenues for the three counties and two school districts in the project area. Stable, long-term funding directly contributes to improved quality of education, services, roads and first responder capabilities for the entire community.
Additionally, Western Spirit Wind will create 100 full-time local jobs to operate and maintain the wind farm. These new jobs create increased earnings for the County as well as increased demand for local vendors and services, including lodging, food services, gas, groceries and others. This will allow the region to begin reaching the same level of prosperity the other parts of New Mexico enjoys.
Western Spirit Wind will employee over 1,000 people over the 18-month construction period including heavy equipment operators, electricians, laborers and others. Pattern has selected Blattner Energy as its construction contractor for the Western Spirit Wind projects. Blattner was also our construction partner for the completion of our Broadview and Grady Wind facilities. They know New Mexico and its people, and we feel confident they will continue their successful track record here in New Mexico.
Who is Western Spirit Wind LLC and what is its relationship with Pattern Energy?
Western Spirit Wind is the first phase of our development efforts located in Torrance, Guadalupe and Lincoln Counties in central New Mexico. It is comprised of 4 separate projects, a Duran Mesa LLC, Tecolote Wind LLC, Red Cloud Wind LLC, Clines Corners Wind Farm LLC.
Pattern Energy is a leader in developing renewable energy and transmission assets and is the developer and owner of the four LLC’s within the Western Spirit Wind projects. With a long history in wind energy, Pattern Energy’s highly-experienced team has developed, financed and placed into operation more than 4,500 MW of wind and solar power projects. A strong commitment to promoting environmental stewardship drives the company’s dedication in working closely with communities to create renewable energy projects. Pattern Energy has offices in San Francisco, San Diego, Houston, New York and New Mexico in the US; Toronto, Canada; Mexico City, Mexico; Santiago, Chile; and Tokyo, Japan.
I recently met a land agent working on behalf of Pattern Energy – how are they connected to the potential wind farms?
Agents in the field representing Pattern Energy are employed as direct contractors assisting us with our mission to connect face-to-face with as many landowners as possible. Connecting with landowners and beginning the process of discussing land option and easement details is an important stage for us in learning about a community – these agents are allowing us to broaden our reach and expand this process given their significant experience in New Mexico and the Southwest in general.
How much additional tax revenue can be expected from the Western Spirit Wind?
Torrance, Guadalupe and Lincoln counties will be issuing Industrial Revenue Bonds, a unique financing mechanism in the State of New Mexico, for the Western Spirit Wind Projects. Although the counties are issuing the bonds, Pattern and its affiliates will pay 100% of the cost of these bonds resulting in approximately $3 million to local governments and schools over the next 25 years.
How does wind energy affect the cost of energy?
The cost of electricity from wind energy is predictable and stable because there are no fuel costs, unlike conventional forms of energy where the cost of fuel can fluctuate significantly over time. Once a wind farm project is built, the price of electricity from the project is set for the duration of its power purchase agreement.
Investing in wind energy also helps us offset our use of other precious resources. Studies have consistently shown that increased use of wind energy will actually result in lower prices to consumers for natural gas – and help conserve that resource for further generations in the process.
How is wind a viable source for energy when the wind itself is intermittent?
The wind turbines in New Mexico are expected to generate energy between 80- 90% of the time on any average year, with the maximum production usually happening during the evening and morning and in winter months. Wind forecasting technology makes wind energy easier to predict and more reliable than ever before.
Electricity grids are already designed to handle variability in both demand and supply. Because of the natural variations in demand, the electric grid always has more power available than it needs in the form of spinning reserve. During a power plant outage – whether a conventional plant or a wind plant – backup is provided by the entire interconnected utility system.
No power plant operates 100% of the time. There are periods when power plants shut down for maintenance and repairs and times when resources run low or unexpected outages occur. At some conventional power plants, the entire plant may have to be shut down for repairs, whereas wind farm maintenance takes place one turbine at a time, without having to shut down the entire plant.
Do the Western Spirit Wind Projects have a plan for decommissioning?
Yes, the Western Spirit Wind projects will have plans and funding set aside for decommissioning the wind farms at the end of their useful life or, in the very unlikely scenario that the company goes out of business or is unable to continue operating the Project. Decommissioning plan would include elements addressing decommissioning triggering events, provisions for removal of turbines and infrastructure, provisions for land restoration and provisions for the project companies to provide financial assurance to carry out the decommissioning.
When can I expect the construction process to begin and how long will it last?
The Western Spirit Wind projects will begin construction in the fall of 2020 but have included a three-year period in the land options to give time to work through any issues that arise during the development process. Depending on factors such as seasonal conditions and final project size and design, construction is expected to last between 1-2 years.
If public roads are damaged during construction, how and when are they repaired?
All public roads that are expected to be utilized during construction are documented and analyzed to capture the existing condition of the roadways prior to commencing construction activities. All public roads impacted by the construction of the wind farm will be returned to the same or better condition at the conclusion of construction activities. This arrangement is documented and memorialized through a Public Road Use Agreement with the New Mexico State Land Office and Counties.
Are there safety issues related to the Project?
The health and safety of the public, landowners, and personnel at the Project is of utmost importance to Pattern Energy. The Project will be monitored on-site and by a remote operations center in Houston, Texas which is staffed 24 hours a day and 7 days a week.
The Western Spirit Wind projects work closely with local permitting and zoning officials as well as first responders. The Project will be compliant with all applicable state and local regulations as well as siting requirements established by county ordinances.
What will happen to the soil that is excavated from the turbine sites?
The soil that is excavated to install the turbine foundation structure will be used to backfill the foundation and redistributed around the turbine after construction. If there is excess material that is not needed for fill on roads or other places in the project area, the soil can typically be left for the landowner to do what he/she wants with it, if the landowner desires.
Should Pattern Energy sell their interest in the wind farm, will the “new owner” be held to the same terms for removal of infrastructure and decommission of towers?
Yes. Any owner or owners would be required to continuously comply with the original requirements for decommission as defined in the original land owner leases for their property.
Does Pattern Energy have a power purchase agreement (PPA) for this project?
The projects comprising Western Spirit Wind do have several agreements already in place. In addition, we are working diligently to identify an additional offtake partner or partners for the energy that would be generated.
Will Western Spirit Wind LLC provide an easy way to contact the company if a landowner has questions or concerns during the construction or operations period?
Yes. Pattern Energy has local employees to be available to answer questions and address community concerns. We will be distributing refrigerator magnets that provide contact information or you can contact us at infoNM@patternenergy.com.
Does sound or low frequency noise from wind turbines impact human health?
For more than 40 years people have been living near more than 350,000 wind turbines operating globally and more than 50,000 wind turbines operating in North America. There is no scientific evidence indicating that wind turbines have caused any adverse health effects. Overall, health and medical agencies agree that the sound from wind turbines is not loud enough to cause hearing impairment and is not causally related to adverse effects. Scientific evidence to date does indicate that at common residential setback distances there is no direct health risk from wind turbine noise, including low frequency noise and infrasound.
Wind turbine sounds are not unique. Based on the levels and frequencies of the sounds, a multidisciplinary scientific advisory panel comprising of medical doctors, audiologists, and acoustical professionals concluded that there is no evidence the audible or sub-audible sounds emitted by wind turbines have any direct adverse physiological effects.
Can participating landowners extract gravel or other surface minerals from their land?
Yes, provided that the pit does not interfere with the wind farm project. Property owners have specific guidelines within their lease agreement.
Will the project study potential avian impacts?
We will perform bird surveys to find potential threatened and endangered species, including some species of eagles.
Can landowners install fencing within the project area?
Yes, provided that the project and its contractors continue to have access to the project area.
Can farming and ranching continue in each wind farm?
Yes, the land will still belong to the landowners and can be used for activities such as grazing and other activities that do not interfere with the operation of the facility. Ranching and grazing are totally compatible and will not be restricted. Less than 1% of the total easement area for the project will be occupied by structure footprints.
Can hunting occur near the project area?
Yes, but not during construction. During the construction period, the project will compensate property owners for the loss of income from hunting opportunities on their property. In addition, property owners will restrict hunting activities during the operation of the wind farm in order to protect employees and property.
What if damages occur to fencing or other property during construction or maintenance?
The project company for that specific wind farm will either repair or compensate landowners, at the landowner’s election, for damages to improvements or personal property that occur during the construction or maintenance of the project.
Learn more about
On March, 2018, Pattern Energy submitted a location control application to the PRC for the Corona Wind Projects to be located near Corona in Lincoln County. Materials related to this application can be found below.