- New Mexico regulators have approved Xcel Energy's $1.6 billion wind expansion plan, leaving only Texas to sign off on a major expansion of the company's renewable energy footprint.
- The Sagamore facility in New Mexico and Hale project in Texas would have a combined nameplate capacity of 1 GW and are expected online in 2020 and 2019, respectively.
- Announced in March of last year, Xcel's plan for wind expansion in the Southwest also includes a power purchase agreement with NextEra Energy Resources for the output of the 230 MW Bonita project in Texas.
Texas regulators must still approve Xcel's plan, which could come as soon as the next few weeks, but officials are celebrating.
Sen. Martin Heinrich (D-N.M.) hailed the decision, saying the 522 MW facility would be a boon to the local economy. The project will create up to 300 construction jobs and as many as 30 full-time operations jobs, and will produce an estimated $43 million in gross receipts tax revenue for the state .
Heinrich said in a statement that Xcel Energy’s $1.6 billion investment in the project "will lower the cost of energy production and boost our economy here in New Mexico.”
Xcel's president of operations in New Mexico and Texas, David Hudson, said in a statement that the wind facilities will "power the regional economy with energy from our abundant, fuel-free wind resource and save customers hundreds of millions of dollars in energy costs for decades to come."
The Sagamore project is expected online in 2020; both the Hale project and Bonita, which is being developed by NextEra, are expected online next year.
According to Xcel, wind now supplies 22% of the region's power, but that could almost double by 2021 if the company's plans are approved.The utility has plans to continue its expansion and has revealed it received record-low prices in a solicitation for renewable energy paired with energy storage.
The median price bid for wind-plus-storage projects in Xcel's all-source solicitation was $21/MWh, and the median bid for solar-plus storage was $36/MWh. Previously, the lowest known bid for similar solar resources was $45/MWh in Arizona.