By Tony Parra
PNT Staff Writer
Two goals of the new wind energy farm in Elida are less dependence on fossil fuels and less expensive energy costs for customers. So says Bill Crenshaw, Xcel Energy corporate communications manager.
Padoma Wind Power of La Jolla, Calif., will be developing a 120-megawatt wind farm near Elida. It’s proposed to be completed within six months, according to Jan Paulin, president of Padoma Wind Power. Xcel Energy will be providing energy through its contracts with the developer, Padoma Wind Power, which will be responsible for construction of the wind turbines.
Each wind turbine stands approximately 210 feet with three 80-foot long blades. Paulin said there will be 60 to 120 wind turbines at the wind farm.
Crenshaw said Cielo Wind Power of Austin, Texas, will construct a 160 megawatt wind farm in Wildorado, Texas, which is located approximately 25 miles west of Amarillo and it will also be on-line by the end of 2005.
Crenshaw said the two wind farms combined would provide enough energy for the average annual needs of more than 97,000 homes. Cielo Wind Power is also constructing an 80 megawatt wind ranch near Tucumcari and said it will be generating power to Xcel Energy customers by the end of the year.
According to Crenshaw, Xcel Energy will have a 15-year contract for the wind farm near Tucumcari, but a 20-year contract with Padoma Wind Power wind farm near Elida.
If the Elida wind farm is constructed within six months as planned, there will be three wind farms in the eastern plains of New Mexico. There are 136 General Electric wind turbines in a wind farm near House constructed by Florida Power and Light. FPL contracts with Public Service Company of New Mexico to provide energy to its customers. FPL wind farm in House produces 204 megawatts of electricity to approximately 94,000 homes.
The manufacturers of the wind turbines are Mistubishi of Japan or Vestas of Denmark, according to Crenshaw.
Crenshaw said Xcel Energy uses 85 megawatts created from wind energy as part of its 4,350 total mega-watts it uses for its customers use. Xcel Energy receives almost 2 percent of its energy from wind energy.
Crenshaw said the increase of its use of wind farms will increase its dependence of wind energy so that Xcel Energy receives 10 percent (445 megawatts) of its energy from wind energy. According to Crenshaw, 445 megawatts would serve the need of 150,000 homes.
He said a recent 1.5 cent per kilowatt-hour federal production tax credit for wind developers will help Xcel and its customers.
“This will save our fossil fuels,” Crenshaw said. “Tax-aided wind energy will reduce prices to the customers. Coal energy is still the least expensive form of energy. Wind farms use almost no water compared to other power plants like natural gas. This will also help the areas which are low on water.”
Elida Mayor Gerald Lee said he’s not sure how much of an economic impact this will create for the town of Elida. He said members of the “Believe in Me” film crew were in Elida for shooting, but they brought their own caterers. Lee said there is an Allsup’s gas station, a feed store and The Burning Iron Cafe in Elida.
“I haven’t heard a lot of information about it,” Lee said. “There is a lot of interest and curiosity from the Elida residents. I’m not sure if they (Padoma Wind Power officials) will be looking for workers to help in the construction. I’m going to be doing some research to find out more.”