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Poco Windy #26: Was Farm-to-Market; Now Ranch-to-Market

It’s early afternoon in Chandler, Arizona where your author recently visited family. Way out West, the hotter West - much hotter I might add than Southcentral New Mexico. It’s currently 86 degrees - not bad for Chandler- much warmer than back home. It got up to 115 in Chandler in June, with numerous 109 degree days in July, over 100 much of August. As a result, the need for electricity seems endless. Air conditioning, refrigeration, ceiling fans, and other types of motorized ventilation (not just open windows) run endlessly - 24/7 for months on end - to counter this HEAT.

As I ride in the back seat of the family jeep, I note through the window the disappearance of still more valley farmland, cattle pasture, and dairy feedlots - happening at a brisk pace. Their place was now taken up by more single-family homes, apartment complexes, in subdivisions under construction. Right there! - I point to a new sign that says “La Valencia Subdivision” taking up the last vacant lots near my family’s subdivision. These new houses are even closer together than those I witnessed 3 to 4 years ago being built earlier on disappearing agricultural land. All of them then and now need and use even more electricity.

By the way, I see many more Tesla electric vehicles here than ever before and even a few driverless EV vehicles. Add those to all the plug-in gadgets that crowd houses today. At the same time, by the way, at Red Rock on I-10 some 57 miles southeast of Chandler, I witness the actual demolition of an old oil/gas-fired power plant as I went to and from New Mexico. In all this, did I mention the need for more and more electricity? Generated how? Where?

The produce, livestock, and feed these farms used to supply valley markets now increasingly comes from elsewhere, primarily California. There, farms and the few ranches also use electricity, just not nearly as much as Chandler's new housing construction, and not 24/7, 365. The additional electricity though is beginning to come and will increasingly come from ranches - east of Arizona, back home in central New Mexico. From the completed and energized Corona Wind Phase 1 and from the far larger, soon-to-be under construction Corona Wind Phase 2 projects. In fact, the first of the four Phase 1 wind farms was energized on October 26!

Add the drying up of Arizona and Nevada reservoirs and corresponding loss of hydropower, the demand for NM ranch-generated electrical power continues to grow. As does the need for Region 9/Mesalands CTE trained wind energy technicians to service those wind farms on those ranches.

Now, the “new agriculture” is New Mexico ranch-to-Arizona, and California markets electricity. Harvesting the wind. With more CTE jobs in New Mexico.

This is the home of Region 9 CTE. Thanks for dropping by.

By Jim Miller