Xcel Energy to Begin Work on 522 MW New Mexico Wind Plant

Xcel Energy plans to begin construction of the 522 MW Sagamore wind farm in New Mexico by the end of the year, and into commercial operation by late 2020.

Xcel 522 MW New Mexico Wind

Xcel Energy, a utility holding company based in Minneapolis, has announced that it plans to begin construction of the 522 MW Sagamore wind farm in New Mexico by the end of the year. The wind plant is expected to go into commercial operation by late 2020.

Once fully operational, the $900 million facility will be the largest of its kind in New Mexico, and able to generate enough electricity to supply 194,000 typical households each year.

The Sagamore project was initially developed by Chicago-based Invenergy LLC. Xcel became its owner in 2017 as part of a plan to expand its wind portfolio within its New Mexico-Texas system by 1,230 MW.

“Sagamore will pay for itself in the fuel cost-savings it will generate by using one of the region’s most abundant resources – the wind – to drive its generators,” said David Hudson, president of Xcel Energy for New Mexico and Texas. “It will be among the cheapest generating resources on our system and will help us conserve precious groundwater and protect the environment while bringing an immense economic benefit to eastern New Mexico.”

The new wind farm will be located in New Mexico’s Roosevelt County and use 240 Vestas’ wind turbines. Wanzek Construction will be in charge of construction.

The development phase of the project has already been finalised, according to Xcel, including grid connection studies. The construction stage is expected to provide employment to about 400 people.

Earlier this month, we reported that the Minneapolis-based energy utility was planning to to retire its last two coal plants in the Upper Midwest a decade earlier than scheduled. The acceleration of the coal closures was seen as another milestone in the company’s clean energy transition that includes expanding wind and solar, using cleaner natural gas and operating its carbon-free Monticello nuclear plant until at least 2040.

These plans are part of the proposed Upper Midwest Energy Plan, which the company will submit for approval to the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission in July. If approved, the plan would lead to a more than 80 percent reduction in carbon emissions in the region by 2030, compared to 2005, a key stepping stone toward the company achieving its vision to provide customers 100% carbon-free electricity by 2050.

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Ayush Verma

Ayush is a staff writer at saurenergy.com and writes on renewable energy with a special focus on solar and wind. Prior to this, as an engineering graduate trying to find his niche in the energy journalism segment, he worked as a correspondent for iamrenew.com.