In just two more months, members of the New Mexico Public Regulation Commission may give the green light to a fast-moving effort calling for the construction of a new 50-megawatt solar plant, as well as two wind farms varying in capacity from 50 megawatts to 160 megawatts.
All three projects are being proposed by the Public Service Company of New Mexico in response to the anticipated renewable energy needs of Facebook’s giant data center project in Los Lunas.
The online social networking company announced in the fall of 2016 that it was going to begin work on the first two of a planned six buildings.
In response, several weeks later, the utility company, known as PNM, said it would begin construction on a new $45 million solar project designed to meet Facebook’s growing energy needs.
But last November, Facebook said it was speeding up its Los Lunas project with the immediate construction of four more buildings.
In order to keep pace with Facebook’s accelerated construction schedule, PNM now says it wants to build, with third party providers, a 166 megawatt wind farm in Torrance county; along with a 50 megawatt wind farm in both Quay and De Baca counties; as well as a 50 megawatt solar plant in Cibola county.
Due to the fast-track nature of Facebook’s expansion, as well as the need for the wind farms and solar facility, the Public Regulation Commission may give its stamp of approval to the projects as soon as early April.
In 2016, the commission unanimously agreed to a special services contract allowing PNM to build the $45 million solar project for Facebook.
By Garry Boulard
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