Xcel Advances $1.6B Wind Plan for Texas, NM

Xcel Energy will own and operate two more wind farms in Texas and New Mexico, which combined will have 1,230 megawatts of capacity. The facilities are anticipated to save customers in the region $2.8 billion over a 30-year period.

Minnesota-headquartered Xcel Energy has received approval from the Public Utility Commission of Texas to expand its wind energy capacity by 1,230 megawatts in Texas and New Mexico. New Mexico regulators had approved the plan in March.

Xcel Energy’s proposal consists of two new wind farms, which will generate most of the new power, but also includes a long-term power purchase agreement  through which the company will acquire clean energy from other wind facilities in Texas.

The firm will purchase 230 megawatts of wind energy from NextEra Energy Resources under a 30-year PPA from two sites around Lubbock, collectively known as the Bonita PPA: one is in Cochran County, Texas, about 60 miles west of Lubbock, and one in Crosby County, some 20 miles east of Lubbock. Combined, these facilities will generate sufficient power for about 81,000 homes. Xcel Energy expects to start receiving energy from these acquisitions by 2019.

Long-Term Benefits

The two new farms are estimated to cost $1.6 billion to build. They are anticipated to save Texas and New Mexico customers $2.8 billion over a 30-year period, or $2 per residential customer per month starting in 2021, when the facilities will be operational. In addition, the projects will create some 600 construction jobs and 40 to 50 permanent positions, and generate $154 million in  revenue for state and local governments and school districts. The two new wind projects are projected to produce sufficient electricity to power more than 360,000  homes annually.

Hale Wind Project is a 478-megawatt facility to be built in Hale County, Texas, north of Lubbock and south of Plainview. Xcel Energy has entered into an agreement to acquire it from a subsidiary of NextEra Energy Resources. Total cost of the project is $769 million and construction is scheduled to begin in June. Once operational, by the end of 2019, the Hale Wind Project is anticipated to power about 168,000 homes.

Sagamore Wind Project is a 522-megawatt project in Roosevelt County, N.M., roughly 20 miles south of Portales. Xcel Energy has entered into an agreement to purchase the facility from Invenergy LLC. The total cost of the project is $865 million and is expected to begin operations by the end of 2020. Then, it will generate enough electricity to power 194,000 homes.

Vestas-American Wind Technology Inc. will provide the turbines, the two entities reached an agreement in 2016, and this fact qualifies company-owned developments for 100 percent of an available federal production tax credit. Wanzek Construction will build both wind farms. The company is currently building for Xcel Energy several other wind facilities in North Dakota, Iowa and Minnesota.

“The new wind farms will help power a growing regional economy with clean energy while providing the lowest-cost generating resource on our system. Not only will these wind farms save customers money, but they’ll also preserve precious water resources and spur regional economic activity,” David Hudson, president, Xcel Energy – New Mexico, Texas, said in prepared remarks.

Video courtesy of Xcel Energy