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Poco Windy #12 CTE: Who’s Working in New Mexico Wind Energy? The Scouting Report

2020 is expected to be a big year, a really big year, for wind energy development in New Mexico. With an estimated 31 wind energy farms now in operation, under construction, or significantly on the drawing boards, wind energy production is playing an increasingly significant role in New Mexico economic development. For example, Xcel Energy announced in late February that foundation work for 66 turbines was underway at the Sagamore Wind Farm site southeast of Portales. More are on the way. Once completed in late 2020, the Sagamore 520 MW farm will be New Mexico’s largest ... at least for a while. More are expected to break ground as 2020 unfolds, racing against late December federal production tax credit deadlines.

So, who is currently working in New Mexico wind energy? in development? In operation? Here’s the March 2020 scouting report: US, or in many cases, world-wide players, include Pattern Energy, Avangrid-Iberdrola, Invenergy, EDF Renewables, PNE North America, NextEra Energy, Scout Clean Energy, Apex Clean Energy, TriGlobal Energy, Cielo Wind Power, Capital Power, Akuo Energy, and the list continues - currently 17 in all. Some companies design, permit, construct, and then operate the new wind farms, start-to-finish. Others design, permit, construct, then sell the completed wind farms to long term owner/operators. Operators have long-term power sales contracts, PPAs as they are called, selling the electricity to utility companies, rural electric cooperatives or municipal utilities - all end users, often far from the wind resource-rich regions.

All of these development and operating companies need transmission infrastructure of varying lengths to transport electrons to market. Quickly. All also need Wind Energy Technicians to service the turbines/towers at wind farms. All need training programs of the type offered by Mesalands Community College, New Mexico State University (electrical engineering), and through the Region 9 Education Cooperative CTE Program.

How does Region 9 CTE (career-technical education) tie into this big deal? REC 9 is providing, through participating member districts, an Occupational Certificate wind energy tech program now available in Lincoln County, Mescalero and elsewhere in Otero County - live and online. Finish the dual credit version in High School, or the for credit college program after graduation, or upon receipt of your GED, or after discharge from military service, and immediately get hired by one of the above companies...right here in New Mexico.

The New Mexico 80 meter wind resource is vast! One of the nation’s best. So are the Wind industry job opportunities right here in central New Mexico, through the REC 9 / Mesalands wind energy training program. Sign up today!

By Dr. James Miller