A plan to build two massive wind farms in eastern New Mexico and western Texas may see its business model altered in order to win the approval of the New Mexico Public Regulation Commission.
Earlier this year the Minneapolis-based Excel Energy, which provides electricity to consumers in New Mexico and seven other states, announced that it wanted to build a 522-megawatt facility some 20 miles south or Portales.
A second, 478-megawatt farm, would go up just north of Lubbock.
In announcing the $1.6 billion projects, Xcel said the new facilities would be capable of generating up to 1.2 gigawatts of electricity, enough to supply the power needs of some 440,000 homes.
The company additionally said that the wind projects would work to reduce the cost of energy for its customers to the tune of nearly $3 billion over the span of the next three decades.
But the utility division staff for the Public Regulation Commission want Xcel’s subsidiary, the Southwest Public Service Company, to commit to providing detailed reports of the exact amount of savings realized each year, requiring the company to return to its customers money if the new farms fail to produce the advertised benefits.
A public hearing before the commission, which is tasked with regulating the utilities, telecommunications, and motor carriers industry in New Mexico, is scheduled for November 22.
By Garry Boulard
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