New Mexico inks trust land leases for massive wind project


ALBUQUERQUE, NM (AP) — New Mexico’s commissioner of public lands signed nearly a dozen leases on Monday that will pave the way for a major renewable energy developer to erect wind turbines on 230 square miles (595 square kilometers ) land in trust.

Officials consider Pattern Energy’s planned development in Lincoln, Torrance and San Miguel counties to be the largest wind energy project in the Western Hemisphere.

In late 2021, the company brought four wind farms online in central New Mexico totaling more than one gigawatt of capacity for utility customers in California. The new leases will be part of the larger SunZia project, which will eventually have 3,000 megawatts of capacity to power homes in more populated western markets.

New Mexico Lands Commissioner Stephanie Garcia Richard said that together the 11 leases signed Monday mark the largest lease of state trust land for renewable energy development in state history. .

“Triple renewables may seem like an ambitious goal, but we got there by executing these leases and we won’t stop now,” she said in a statement.

Pattern Energy said it plans to invest $6 billion in upcoming wind energy and related infrastructure projects in the state over the next decade.

The company won a total auction of nearly $9.3 million for the packages. State officials have said they expect revenue from the planned project to raise at least $196 million over its lifetime to benefit public schools and other public institutions.

In total, the State Land Office oversees 26 wind power leases and 12 solar power leases. The agency said it also has several dozen applications for new renewable energy leases in the pipeline.

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