AMARILLO, Texas (KAMR/KCIT) – Xcel Energy said wind energy accounted for more than half the region’s electricity supply in March and reached a new hourly peak production of more than 86% in April, reportedly boosted by the new Sagamore Wind Project in New Mexico.
“Wind energy is a major component in the generating resources that produce clean, low-cost energy for a growing economy,” said David Hudson, president, Xcel Energy – New Mexico, Texas. “The integration of such a large amount of wind energy was not possible two decades ago, but investments in our transmission grid have enabled us take on more of these valuable energy resources for the benefit of our customers across our Texas-New Mexico region.”
Xcel Energy said it has been working to add wind energy to the regional generating “mix” for over 20 years, mostly by buying the output of area facilities owned by other wind energy producers.
In the last two years, the company said it has added 1,000 megawatts of wind generation from its facilities, including:
- Hale Wind Project near Plainview, Texas
- Sagamore facility near Portales, New Mexico
“Together,” said Xcel Energy, “these two facilities generate enough electricity to power 378,000 typical homes.”
Wind energy was noted as 51.1% of the mix in March, according to the company, the highest monthly wind numbers yet recorded. For all of 2020, before the Sagamore facility was active, wind energy accounted for 32% of the electricity delivered to the region by Xcel Energy.
Xcel Energy said it expects that 40% of the region’s electricity will be made from wind energy in 2021.
“We invested close to $2 billion in Hale and Sagamore, which had large positive impacts on the rural
economies in their respective areas,” Hudson said. “These facilities will continue to enrich the rural economy by boosting tax revenues to counties and school districts and paying production royalties to farmers and ranchers. In turn, our customers benefit from 100% of the federal production tax credits associated with this production and by lower fuel costs since the fuel for wind turbines is free of charge.”
The fuel savings and tax credits combined are more than outstripping the annual cost to pay for the investments in Hale and Sagamore and keep them operating, and are now providing a net savings to customers, Hudson said.
Xcel Energy also claimed that wind energy helps to preserve the region’s groundwater for municipal and agricultural use, due to no water being needed to produce electricity in that manner. The company said this renewable energy is part of its plan to reduce carbon emissions by 80% by 2030, aspiring to be 100% carbon-free by 2050.