The new 155-mile Western Spirit Transmission line from central New Mexico to Albuquerque went fully operational Dec. 3, transmitting wind power from 377 turbines built this year near Encino, Corona and Duran in Guadalupe, Lincoln and Torrance counties.

The massive wind farm developed by San Francisco-based Pattern Energy Group produces 1,050 megawatts of electricity, enough to power 600,000 homes. The Western Spirit wind farm is considered the largest single-phase renewable energy buildout in the U.S., Pattern Energy spokesman Matt Dallas said.

Pattern Energy developed the transmission line jointly with the New Mexico Renewable Energy Transmission Authority, and the two entities will sell the line to Public Service Company of New Mexico after commissioning is completed.

“This is the largest transmission upgrade to the PNM system since the 1980s, and is increasing grid reliability by harnessing New Mexico’s natural resources,” transmission suthority Chairman Robert E. Busch said in a news release.

PNM will pay $285 million for ownership of the transmission line, but the incremental cost is actually paid through use of the line by Pattern to transmit its wind power. No other PNM customer money was used, PNM spokeswoman Kelly-Renae Huber said.

Pattern has already entered into a 15-year purchase agreement with Germany-based power company Uniper for 219,000 megawatt/hours of wind power. In North America, Uniper sells and trades energy commodities to customers seeking to meet decarbonization energy objectives.

(1) comment

Robert Fields

Woot! Congrats PNM and Pattern Energy!

Hope we can get some big solar panel installs going too with more grid strengthening!

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