The state Public Regulation Commission on Wednesday unanimously approved the location for a 40,000-acre wind farm in Torrance and Guadalupe counties near Clines Corners.

The Clines Corners Wind Farm would have up to 220 wind turbines connected to a proposed electric substation, capable of providing 600 megawatts of electricity a year, according to the application.

The project would connect with the proposed Western Spirit transmission line 11 miles northwest of Encino.

The wind farm is a joint project of Oakland, Calif.-based Orion Renewable Energy Group and MAP Energy of Palo Alto, Calif.

Hearing examiner Caroline Glick told the commission she and the regulatory staff recommended approval of the project, which she said would comply with state environmental regulations. She said there are relatively low numbers of sensitive species and natural resources on the site and the wind farm would not be visible from a population center.

The application says the wind farm “will produce zero-emission electricity using state-of-the-art wind turbine technology and, in addition, will displace electricity generated from non-renewable sources causing a reduction in greenhouse gas emissions and regulated air pollutants.”

Both the Torrance and Guadalupe county commissions voted earlier this year to support the wind farm. Most of the project would be on privately owned land.

The Clines Corner project is only the latest wind farm proposal to pop up in New Mexico.

The commission also is considering a proposed 140-megawatt project 18 miles east of Estancia and a 166-megawatt wind farm near Encino. Both are owned by Avangrid Renewables, an Oregon energy corporation.

According to the American Wind Energy Association, wind energy provided nearly 19 percent of all in-state electricity production in New Mexico.

As of this summer, the state had 1,026 wind turbines operating, the association says.

“Wind projects under construction or in advanced development are enough to double the state’s current installed wind capacity,” the association says of New Mexico.

As of earlier this year, the organization said the state had 1,732 megawatts of installed wind energy capacity, with another 1,447 megawatts of wind energy capacity under construction and another 1,328 megawatts “in advanced development.”

(1) comment

Devin Bent

As wind farms are located closer to us, it is time for local counties to develop policies for them, including setbacks from homes and schools, restrictions on noise levels, protections for birds and bats, protection of scenic views, responsibility for decommissioning, and perhaps maximum acreage limits.

This article does not mention the height of the proposed turbines but I would not be surprised if they were more than 600 feet tall. It will cover 40,000 acres. We should not underestimate the ability of these turbines to make their neighbors miserable, to destroy birds and bats, to desecrate views, and to cover vast areas. The giant turbines and will last maybe 20 years and will be expensive to dismantle. We need policies in place to deal with them.

I am not opposing wind farms, but I am asking that responsible policies be put in place.

Welcome to the discussion.

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