New Mexico Land Office Leases State Trust Land for Wind Farm in Colfax County

April 05, 2006

New Mexico State Commissioner of Public Lands Patrick Lyons signed an agreement on April 4 in Santa Fe with a local company that is planning to develop a wind power facility on state trust and private lands in Colfax County. The land area will consist of 640 acres of state trust lands and another 160–560 acres of private land. The turbines will impact only 50–60 acres, and not affect agriculture in the area, according to the developer, WindForce, Inc., in Santa Fe. The facility will be rated at about 20 megawatts (MW). The site is close to major transmission lines and is easily accessible for construction and maintenance.

Lyons is the first New Mexico lands commissioner to approve leases for wind energy projects on trust lands. The New Mexico Land Office has so far leased more than 7,000 acres of trust lands in Chaves, Roosevelt, and Quay counties have been leased to three wind energy companies. New Mexico ranks second in the nation for the number of wind turbines on trust lands. The Land Office manages 9 million surface acres and 13 million mineral acres of land held in trust to help finance public education. Lyons said, "Developing renewable energy will help us meet the energy needs of growing communities, and when it happens on state trust lands it means more money for education."

Source: April 7 edition of Wind Energy Weekly.

The DOE National Renewable Energy Laboratory published a report in conjunction with the U.S. Department of the Interior in 2003 titled "Assessing the Potential for Renewable Energy on Public Lands" (PDF 4745 KB).