New Mexico U.S. Senator Jeff Bingaman Monday came to Quay County and kept busy going from one spot to another mostly in Tucumcari but also headed just south of San Jon to check out the progress of the county’s newest wind farm.
The trip to the Quay County, site of the new wind farm under construction, was the final stop in a visit which began with Bingaman visiting with Tucumcari City and Quay County Commissioners about economic development for the city and the county.
The senator met with the commissioners at the Quay County Courthouse where he fielded questions from both commissioners and people in the audience ranging from energy to economic development. City and county commissioners asked about racetracks, casinos, ethanol production in the county, federal aide, unemployment and railroads. Bingaman also spoke about the possibility of the Ute Lake Pipeline becoming a reality in the near future.
“It is not going to happen in the soon,” said Bingaman, “but we know you want it and will continue to work on it.”
Following the visit with the commissioners, Bingaman traveled to Five-Mile Park to see the local landmark which has fallen on hard times and expressed his willingness to help find funds to recondition the site.
He then visited with Philip O. Barry the president of Mesalands Community College at the college.
At noon, Bingaman was feted at a luncheon hosted by the Quay County Democratic Party where he spoke about the importance of the upcoming election and the role of Quay County in the election.
Bingaman then went south of San Jon to what will become the newest wind farm in New Mexico and learned about wind power from experts there. Bingaman, a member of the Senate Energy Committee said he went out to the Caprock Monday where the 60 new wind turbines are in the process of being constructed to get some first-hand information on the technology of wind power.
At what will soon be the base of one of the 20-story tall monoliths, Bingaman visited with the heads of two different firms involved with the wind power turbines. He quizzed Daniel Elkhart of Babcock and Brown who have commissioned the generators to be built. He also visited with Walt Hornaday, project development chief of the Cielo Wind Energy project.
Hornaday explained to the Senator that the edge of the Caprock is an ideal area from which to extract from wind. He said that the wind currents are so good because they are “so consistent and so consistently strong” both of which help to generate the energy. Bingaman even climbed inside of what will become the neck of a 225 foot tall turbine and looked at the hollow structure. as it lay on the ground.
“This technology is quite impressive,” said Bingaman, “and it will provide us an alternative form of power – one that has become more and more affordable as the technology improves and one that Quay County can take advantage of.”