Transmission network key to further wind farm development

By Chelle Delaney: Quay County Sun

One of the biggest constraints on wind energy’s growth in The United States is the capacity of the transmission grid to deliver wind energy to customers, said Commissioner Pat Lyons of the State Land Office.

New Mexico’s electric transmission grid has a critical need for expansion, Lyons told attendees at the Renew Energy Conference in Tucumcari on Thursday.

For example, there is a proposed route across the center of the state by U-P-C, a company planning a windfarm development on trust and private lands in Lincoln and Torrance counties.

U-P-C is looking at this route through Torrance, Lincoln, Socorro and Catron counties.

However, Lyons said, “We have received some opposition about this particular project. Nobody wants it in their backyard. But we have a number of applications for new wind energy development, but unless be can move the power these projects are futile.”
While trying to carve the path for a transmission line for this project, in the central part of the state, Lyons said almost a third of the landowners and ranchers sent protest letters.

Out of 58 letters sent out by the SLO, 17 letters of protest by landowners’ attorneys were returned recently, Lyons said.

Another project involving SLO, is the Sun-Zia project. It’s a proposed 500 kilo-volt, 350-mile long transmission line with strategic interconnections across New Mexico and Arizona.