Pattern Energy puts New Mexico wind projects into Commercial Ops totaling 1,050 MW at capacity

Jan. 6, 2022
U.S. Sen. Martin Heinrich called the massive Western Spirit the largest renewable energy project in history

Renewables developer Pattern Energy Group has completed construction of its series of Western Spirit Wind power projects in central New Mexico.

Western Spirit’s four projects are now in commercial operations. They have a capacity of 1.05 GW and are located in Guadalupe, Lincoln and Torrance counties.

U.S. Sen. Martin Heinrich called the massive Western Spirit complex the largest renewable energy project in history.

“Western Spirit encompasses four new utility-scale wind sites that connect rural communities in central New Mexico to local customers and other major energy markets beyond our state’s borders,” Sen. Heinrich said in a statement. “This project literally changed the map of our state’s energy landscape, allowing New Mexico to help power our nation with clean electrons.”

The four wind power sites that comprise Western Spirit Wind utilize a total of 377 GE wind turbines ranging from 2.3 to 2.8 MW in size. The GE turbines utilize various tower heights to optimize the wind capture at each facility.

“The collaboration of our teams of workers around the state shows what can be achieved – building the largest single-phase wind project in U.S. history in less than one year – a truly remarkable achievement,” Pattern Energy CEO Mike Garland said. “This is just the beginning for New Mexico – Pattern Energy has committed to $6 billion in upcoming wind energy and related infrastructure projects in the state over the next decade.”

Construction of the four Western Spirit wind facilities employed more than 1,100 people during that phase, according to Garland. At capacity, the wind energy can meet the electricity needs of about 900,000 residents, according to the company.

Western Spirit Wind was developed by Pattern Energy. Blattner Energy served as the construction contractor.

Commercial operation of Western Spirit energizes the new 345-kV transmission line which brings up to 800 MW of power from the farms into the electric grid managed by Public Service Co. of New Mexico (PNM) near Albuquerque. Pattern Energy and RETA jointly developed the Western Spirit transmission line.

PNM will acquire and operate the 155-mile transmission system once commissioning is fully complete.

About the Author

Rod Walton, EnergyTech Managing Editor | Senior Editor

For EnergyTech editorial inquiries, please contact Managing Editor Rod Walton at [email protected].

Rod Walton has spent 15 years covering the energy industry as a newspaper and trade journalist. He formerly was energy writer and business editor at the Tulsa World. Later, he spent six years covering the electricity power sector for Pennwell and Clarion Events. He joined Endeavor and EnergyTech in November 2021.

Walton earned his Bachelors degree in journalism from the University of Oklahoma. His career stops include the Moore American, Bartlesville Examiner-Enterprise, Wagoner Tribune and Tulsa World. 

EnergyTech is focused on the mission critical and large-scale energy users and their sustainability and resiliency goals. These include the commercial and industrial sectors, as well as the military, universities, data centers and microgrids. The C&I sectors together account for close to 30 percent of greenhouse gas emissions in the U.S.

He was named Managing Editor for Microgrid Knowledge and EnergyTech starting July 1, 2023

Many large-scale energy users such as Fortune 500 companies, and mission-critical users such as military bases, universities, healthcare facilities, public safety and data centers, shifting their energy priorities to reach net-zero carbon goals within the coming decades. These include plans for renewable energy power purchase agreements, but also on-site resiliency projects such as microgrids, combined heat and power, rooftop solar, energy storage, digitalization and building efficiency upgrades.