This is an excerpt from EERE Network News, a weekly electronic newsletter.

October 23, 2002

New Large Wind Plants Slated for New Mexico, California, Iowa, and Colorado

New Mexico will gain its first large wind power plant late in 2003, announced Public Service of New Mexico (PNM) on October 21st. The 204-megawatt New Mexico Wind Energy Center will be built, owned, and operated by FPL Energy, LLC, a leading wind plant developer. The project will feature 135 1.5-megawatt wind turbines and will span the borders of Quay and De Baca counties, about 50 miles west from the center of the state's eastern border. PNM intends to sell some of the wind power to its customers through a green power program, selling any excess wind power on the wholesale power market. Construction will begin this year on the facility, which will generate enough electricity to supply 94,000 homes in the state. See the PNM press release.

In addition to the New Mexico Wind Energy Center, FPL Energy has several projects in the works, including large wind facilities in northern California and Iowa. In California, the High Winds Energy Center, a 150-megawatt wind plant, is expected to begin commercial operation in mid-2003, providing electricity to PacifiCorp Power Marketing Inc. In Iowa, the 98-megawatt Hancock County Wind Energy Center will begin operation this year; Interstate Power and Light Company and several local electric cooperatives and municipal utilities will buy the wind power. Hancock County is located in the north-central part of Iowa, just west of Mason City. The area is already populated by small wind projects in Algona and Forest City, and a 42-megawatt wind project near Clear Lake. See the Iowa Wind Energy Project page on the American Wind Energy Association Web site.

FPL Energy will also add 37 megawatts to its Stateline Clean Energy Center, located on the Washington-Oregon border, increasing the total capacity of that wind facility to 300 megawatts. That project will be complete by year-end. For information on all the company's current projects, see the FPL Energy press release.

Colorado will join the greater-than-100-megawatts wind club next year, thanks to an order issued in early October by the Colorado Public Utilities Commission (PUC). Under the order, Xcel Energy will contract with GE Wind Energy, LLC to build a 162-megawatt wind facility near Lamar in southeastern Colorado. The Colorado PUC originally ordered Xcel Energy to pursue a wind facility in February 2001, but the project was jeopardized when Enron Wind Corporation's parent company, Enron Corporation, filed for bankruptcy. A new contract was negotiated successfully after GE Power Systems purchased Enron Wind and committed to move forward with the project. Several parties, including the Land and Water Fund of the Rockies, participated in the contract settlement. See the Land and Water Fund press release (PDF 195 KB) and the Colorado PUC order (PDF 222 KB). Download Acrobat Reader.

Meanwhile, on the East Coast, a scientific data tower is now being installed on Horseshoe Shoal, located off the coast of Massachusetts in Nantucket Sound. The structure will provide essential data for a proposed 420-megawatt offshore wind plant proposed by Cape Wind Associates, LLC. On October 8th, the data tower installation overcame a legal challenge that sought to halt the project. See the Cape Wind press releases.