GE Renewable Energy has bagged a 1050 MW order for Pattern Energy’s Western Spirit Wind farms in New Mexico. The order also includes a 10-year full-service agreement (FSA). GE will supply 377 turbines from its 2MW platform to power the equivalent of more than 590,000 homes. The delivery and installation of turbines has already started, with the wind farms set to begin operating commercially before the end of 2021.
Pattern Energy’s 1 GW wind cluster is being built across four wind farms in Guadalupe, Lincoln and Torrance Counties in central New Mexico, with turbines ranging from 2.3 MW to 2.8 MW in size and a range of tower heights aimed at capturing more wind power. It will be the “largest single-phase construction of renewable power in US history”.
The wind farms’ construction will take place alongside the build of the approximately 240km, 345kV AC Western Spirit Transmission Line, adding much-needed accessibility for the US state’s wind resources to the New Mexico electricity grid.
As part of the agreement, GE Renewable Energy will service the wind farms including the 349 MW Red Cloud (Western Spirit), 324 MW Clines Corners (Western Spirit), 272 MW Tecolote (Western Spirit) and 105MW Duran Mesa (Western Spirit) projects – for ten years.
Other General Electric divisions are also involved in Western Wind, with GE Energy Financial Services underwriting the project and providing an unspecified portion of tax equity, and GE Energy Consulting providing critical grid modelling and analysis. Tim White, CEO of GE Renewable Energy for Onshore Americas, said: “GE’s 2MW platform is extremely well suited to the region, with 98%-plus availability to help ensure the reliability of sustainable, affordable, renewable energy delivery to the region.”
Power system and equipment studies provided by GE Energy evaluated specifications for transmission and power equipment for the new transmission line, substations, series capacitor bank, and wind farm installations. Mike Garland, CEO of Pattern Energy, said, “The Western Spirit Wind projects have a powerful generation profile with an evening peak that is a perfect complement to daytime solar and displaces the need for more expensive, ramping fossil fuels.”
The transmission line is owned by the New Mexico Renewable Energy Transmission Authority and is being co-developed by Pattern Energy. It will interconnect directly into the Public Service Company of New Mexico (PNM) system, and the utility is due to acquire and operate the transmission line.
REGlobal’s Views: Undoubtedly, it has been one of the largest orders for GE so far in 2021. For Pattern Energy, the project will add significantly to its already strong portfolio of wind projects in Mexico. According to sourced, to date, Pattern Energy has more than 4.5GW of New Mexico wind in operation or development – equivalent to more than over USD9.5 billion of planned investments.