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Transmission is Half of Wind Energy for New Mexico

Santa Fe, New Mexico [RenewableEnergyAccess.com]

New Mexico could crowd their landscape with wind power developments, but renewable energy production won't make a true difference unless it's delivered across state lines, according to Governor Bill Richardson.

"I believe that wind power can break through the 'glass ceiling' and become a huge part of our electricity supply."

- Governor Bill Richardson

To help in the struggle for energy independence in America, Richardson plans to ask the New Mexico Legislature to support regional wind energy production through infrastructure financing and development. Power produced in the state could be directly connected to the power grids of energy hungry states such as Arizona, Nevada and California, he said.

"As I told the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission last week, I believe that wind power can break through the 'glass ceiling' and become a huge part of our electricity supply," Richardson said during a news conference.

As Chairman of the Western Governors' Association, Richardson has worked with the other western states to set renewable energy goals for the region. The governors agreed on a combined goal of 30,000 MW in renewable energy for the states by 2015, and a 20-percent improvement in energy efficiency by 2020.

In New Mexico alone, Richardson established six clean energy task forces over the past year. One of those groups has been working exclusively on transmission policy.

Wind farms could have a significant economic benefit for communities in the state, he said. A project planned for the Tucumcari area is projected to produce more than US$ 380,000 in annual revenue to the landowners who formed a corporation to sell wind power to Xcel Energy.

"It doesn't matter how much wind energy we have in New Mexico if we can't send it to markets that need it," Richardson said. "So my transmission task force has been working very hard to prepare recommendations for major new transmission policy here in New Mexico and across the southwestern region."

reader comments on this story

-- Michael Powers, December 11, 2004
Much to his credit, Bill Richardson has long been a strong advocate of using long-distance transmission to maximize market access for renewable energy assets. See also http://www.geni.org.

-- Christopher Pride, December 11, 2004
Gov. Richardson is dedicated to the renewable energy industry for wind and CSP farms. Equal attention should be given to the PV industry and regonial distribution transmission system. Let's do away with the aging infrastructure of long distance transmission grid system.

-- Vincent Pale, December 12, 2004
It appears that Richardson has done his homework and learned that you can't have a significant amount of wind-powered generation without an effective way to dump it.