New Mexico has plentiful natural resources and is the ninth-largest energy producer in the nation. About 50 percent of the electricity generated here is exported. All of the state’s new and planned electricity generating capacity will use renewable energy or natural gas.
With two U. S. Department of Energy national laboratories, the state also has tremendous energy and energy storage research capacity.
New Mexico has substantial renewable resources from solar, wind, hydroelectric, biomass and geothermal energy.
New Mexico is second only to Arizona in days of sunshine and has tremendous solar energy potential.
PNM owns 16 solar energy centers, including two that came online in 2018 specifically to serve the Facebook data center campus in Valencia County. El Paso Electric has power purchase agreements with five solar energy centers in the state. Xcel Energy purchases power from two solar farms in Chaves and Lea counties. Tri-State Generation & Transmission purchases power from the Cimarron Solar Facility in Colfax County.
There is significant wind energy potential on the high plains in eastern New Mexico. In 2018, wind energy contributed almost 19% of the state’s electricity generation with almost 1,800 megawatts of installed electricity generating capacity from more than 1,100 wind turbines.
In October 2018, the New Mexico Public Regulation Commission approved an application from Pattern Energy to build an estimated 950 wind turbines as part of its Corona Wind Projects, which will have 2,250 MW (megawatts) of capacity. Other New Mexico Wind Projects are shown in the table below.
|Electric Utility or Coop||New Mexico Wind Project||Location (County)||Date Online||MW*|
|PNM||NM Wind Energy Center||DeBaca & Quay||2003||204|
|SPS||Caprock Phase I & II||Quay||2004 & 2005||80|
|SPS||San Juan Mesa||Roosevelt||2005||120|
|Arizona Public Service||Aragonne Mesa||Guadalupe||2007||90|
|SPS||High Lonesome Mesa||Torrance||2009||100|
|PNM||Red Mesa Wind Energy Center||Cibola||2010||102|
|Exelon||Wildcat Wind Ranch||Lea||2012||27|
|Tucson Electric Power||Macho Springs Power||Luna||2014||50|
|Grady Wind Energy Center||Curry||117|
|Anderson Wind Project||Chaves||Under construction||15|
|Guadalupe Mountains||Chaves||Under construction||134|
|Roosevelt Wind Farm||Roosevelt||Under construction||250|
|El Cabo Wind Farm||Torrance||Pending||278|
|La Joya Wind Project||250|
|Taiban Mesa Wind||50|
|Sources: New Mexico Public Regulation Commission & New Mexico Energy, Minerals & Natural Resources Dept.|
|*MW = Megawatts|
In January 2014, Cyrq Energy opened New Mexico’s first utility-scale geothermal plant in Hidalgo County. The facility represents an investment of more than $100 million. PNM has signed an agreement to purchase the power for the next 20 years.
The Bravo Dome carbon dioxide gas field, located in Harding and Union Counties in northeast New Mexico, covers about 800,000 acres. It is estimated to contain more than 16 trillion cubic feet of carbon dioxide. The CO₂ is used primarily for enhanced oil recovery.
New Mexico has four sites that generate hydro power:
Source: New Mexico Energy, Minerals & Natural Resources Department