A proposal to build what could be the biggest wind farm in the history of New Mexico has won the unanimous approval of the New Mexico Public Regulation Commission.
As planned, the Corona Wind Project will be a 2.2 gigawatt facility that will belong to the San Francisco-based Pattern Energy Group.
According to reports, the new farm, upon completion, would have the ability to generate power equivalent to a medium-sized nuclear power plant.
The project will encompass in excess of 300,000 aces in east central New Mexico and will see the construction of around 950 wind turbines, as well as just under 80 miles of 345-kilovolt transmission lines stretching across three counties.
The Corona Wind Project is actually a collection of some six individual wind projects that will be connected to the still-to-be developed Sun Zia Southwest Transmission Project at a substation near the village of Corona.
As presented to members of the commission, a completed Sun Zia project would transmit energy from the combined Corona projects. That energy would then be sold to a growing consumer market in both Arizona and California.
Altogether, the Corona Wind Project will pass through property belonging to some 40 individual land owners who have already agreed to leases or option contracts.
In a statement, Mike Garland, chief executive officer of Pattern Development, said the Corona Wind Project will create “over a thousand new construction jobs,” while “generating billions of dollars in economic impact.”
The Pattern Energy Group is an affiliate of Pattern Development.
One obstacle standing in the way of the project is the Public Regulation Commission vote in September prohibiting the Sun Zia Project from moving forward until the exact location of its transmission line route is clearly defined.
Sun Zia is expected to file an amended application to the commission soon that will more than likely provide a clear route for transmission lines running around 520 miles between central New Mexico and southern Arizona.
By Garry Boulard
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