Pattern Energy Group has completed construction and commenced commercial operations of its suite of Western Spirit wind power projects. Western Spirit Wind consists of four wind turbines totaling more than 1,050 MW located in Guadalupe, Lincoln and Torrance counties in central New Mexico.
“Western Spirit Wind is a groundbreaking mega-project that demonstrates that renewable energy can be developed and built at scale in the United States,” said Mike Garland, CEO of Pattern Energy. “These projects create significant employment opportunities and investment in the local economy. Western Spirit brought over 1,100 construction jobs to New Mexico, generated local spending, tax revenue and landowner payments in a remote area of New Mexico and now provides enough renewable energy to power the electricity needs of more than 900,000 Americans. The collaboration of our teams of workers across the state shows what can be achieved – to construct the largest single-phase wind project in US history in less than a year – a truly remarkable achievement.”
The four wind turbines that make up Western Spirit Wind use a total of 377 GE wind turbines ranging in size from 2.3 to 2.8 MW. GE turbines use different tower heights to optimize wind sensing at each facility.
Western Spirit Wind was developed by Pattern Energy. Blattner Energy acted as contractor for the Western Spirit Wind projects.
The wind project and associated transmission line involved more than 1,100 on-site workers, including heavy equipment operators, electricians, labourers, and others, during the 15-month construction period. Going forward, more than 50 employees will operate and maintain Western Spirit Wind’s New Mexico facilities.
Western Spirit Wind will have far-reaching economic benefits for the local area and is expected to provide an estimated $3 million per year to 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 capacity for the entire community.
Western Spirit Wind will provide clean, renewable energy to California and New Mexico through long-term power purchase agreements with the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power, San Jose Clean Energy, East Bay Community Energy, the California Choice Energy Authority and member cities of international energy company Uniper Global Commodities. Western Spirit Wind will also provide power to communities in New Mexico, including the Los Alamos Department of Public Utilities, through Uniper Global Commodities’ power purchase agreement.
Last month, Pattern Energy and the New Mexico Renewable Energy Transmission Authority (RETA) announced the completion of the Western Spirit Transmission Line, which will enable the line of Western Spirit Wind projects to be connected to the grid. The 155-mile, 345-kV transmission line, jointly developed by Pattern Energy and RETA, delivers wind power from Western Spirit Wind in central New Mexico to the power grid managed by the Public Service Company of New Mexico (PNM) nearby administered by Albuquerque. PNM owns and operates the transmission line.
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