By Abigail Saywer
October 13th, 2018
The largest wind farm in the West has been cleared for construction, but adequate transmission for the 2,200-MW project remains an obstacle. The New Mexico Public Regulation Commission on Oct. 3 approved a construction permit for Pattern Energy of San Francisco to install up to 950 turbines across 300,000 acres in east central New Mexico.
The Corona Wind Projects are comprised of six smaller projects: Ancho Wind, Cowboy Mesa, Duran Mesa, Red Cloud Wind, Telocote and Viento Loco. The projects will tie into the proposed SunZia Southwest Transmission Project, a 520-mile, 500-kV capacity line that will move the power south through New Mexico, across Arizona and into California. As part of the same approval, Pattern Energy will also construct about 80 miles of 345-kV capacity lines across three New Mexico counties for eventual tie-in to SunZia at the proposed SunZia East Substation near Corona, New Mexico.
Completion of the SunZia project is essential to transmit and sell the wind power generated by the Corona Wind Project to Arizona, California and Utah, another possible destination. But the NMPRC denied approval of the SunZia line Sept. 5 without prejudice for the developer, SouthWestern Power Group, to reapply with additional information the commission requested. The Arizona Corporation Commission approved a permit in 2016.