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Xcel Energy Focuses on a Clean Energy Economy for New Mexico

Xcel Energy has expanded the electrical grid and wind energy programs in New Mexico, laying the foundation for clean energy in the state.

By Livability on October 28, 2021

wind turbines at Sagamore Wind
Sagamore Wind / Courtesy of Xcel Energy

The vast landscape of eastern New Mexico has inspired human enterprise since the Clovis people stalked wooly mammoths with advanced stone spear points more than 11,000 years ago. 

It’s this same spirit of innovation that drives Xcel Energy’s New Mexico operations today, but the mammoths have given way to soaring new electric transmission towers and forests of wind turbines, helping to make New Mexico one of the best places in the nation for business development. 

“We’ve invested hundreds of millions of dollars in the electrical systems that power growth in New Mexico, essentially building a new transmission grid across the desert and laying the foundation for the state’s clean energy economy,” says David Hudson, president of Xcel Energy – New Mexico-Texas, the electric provider for more than 120,000 New Mexico customers in six eastern and southeastern New Mexico counties. 

Xcel Energy’s “Power for the Plains” transmission grid expansion, launched in 2011, has resulted in close to 1,500 miles of new high-voltage lines built in the company’s New Mexico-Texas service area, including a 400-mile, 345-kilovolt power corridor from north of Lubbock to southeast of Carlsbad, vastly increasing the reliability and capacity of the grid in eastern and southeastern New Mexico. 

In December 2020, Xcel Energy brought 522 megawatts of wind energy online (enough energy to power 194,000 homes annually) at its new Sagamore Wind Project, south of Portales in rural Roosevelt County, a project that will generate $234 million in economic benefits in New Mexico over 25 years. 

These efforts are tailored to add capacity for future business and industries that will call New Mexico home. Additionally, Xcel Energy has launched a Certified Site program, an online inventory of the area’s most marketable industrial sites that are promoted on the company’s website, as well as by Xcel Energy’s economic development professionals at national trade shows and industry events and in presentations to national site selectors. 

Five New Mexico sites are now in the firm’s database, with more expected to be added. Mike McLeod, regional manager for community relations and economic development in Roswell, said site selectors accessing the Xcel Energy database will find information on dozens of site characteristics, including information on the reliability and capacity of power sources, access to transportation and communication networks, and other site criteria designed to increase speed to market. 

Xcel Energy is also employing drone technology to bundle this information together in a visual format that makes these sites even more compelling. 

“Information marketed through Xcel Energy’s Certified Site Program includes attributes such as zoning, ownership, environmental surveys, geotechnical evaluations and additional information critical for a company to gather before successfully developing a site for a new or existing business,” McLeod explains. 

More information on Xcel Energy’s economic development efforts can be found at economicdevelopment.xcelenergy.com

Details about Xcel Energy’s transmission enhancement initiative can be found at powerfortheplains.com

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