With a capacity of more than 1,050 MW, Western Spirit Wind farm is the largest wind power project ever constructed as a single phase in the Americas. The project, which was completed in roughly a year in spite of the COVID-19 pandemic, is a worthy POWER Top Plant award winner.
The American Clean Power Association, a group that represents wind, solar, transmission, and storage companies and their allied industries, both public and private, reported in its “Clean Power Annual Market Report 2021” that project developers added 35,292 MW of new power capacity to the electric grid in 2021. For the third year in a row, onshore wind led capacity additions, capturing 38% of the market. The 1,051-MW Western Spirit Wind project in New Mexico led the way, having more than twice the capacity of the next-largest project—the 508-MW White Mesa wind farm in Texas. In fact, Pattern Energy, developer and owner of Western Spirit Wind, said the project “represents the most wind power ever constructed as a single phase in the Americas.”
Western Spirit Wind includes four wind energy project sites in central New Mexico: Red Cloud, Duran Mesa, Clines Corners, and Tecolote. The combined facilities utilize a total of 377 wind turbines ranging from 2.3 MW to 2.8 MW in size. The turbines have various tower heights to optimize energy production. Blattner Energy was the engineering, procurement, and construction (EPC) contractor, GE Renewable Energy supplied the wind turbines, and EC Source (a MasTec company) constructed the transmission lines.
“The Western Spirit Transmission Line literally rewrote the energy landscape in New Mexico—allowing us to build four new utility-scale wind projects in central and eastern New Mexico that make up the largest single-phase wind project in all of North America,” U.S. Sen. Martin Heinrich said at the project’s grand opening in February 2022. “As we build more transformative infrastructure projects like this, New Mexico will grow our ability to export cleanly generated electrons to hungry energy markets in neighboring states, and import thousands of good-paying jobs and billions of dollars of private investment back into our communities.”