Sustainable & Green Energy

New Mexico has plentiful natural resources and is the eighth-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 Clean Energy Map

 

Solar

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.

Wind

There is significant wind energy potential on the high plains in eastern New Mexico.  In 2017, wind energy contributed almost 14% of the state’s electricity generation with almost 1,800 megawatts of installed electricity generating capacity from more than 1,000 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 Llano Estacado Curry 2003 2
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

Geothermal

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.

CO₂

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.

Hydro Power

New Mexico has four sites that generate hydro power:

  • Navajo Dam, operated by the City of Farmington, 30 MW
  • Elephant Butte, U.S. Bureau of Reclamation, 24 MW
  • Abiquiu Dam, Los Alamos Utilities, 15 MW
  • El Vado Dam, Los Alamos Utilities, 9 MW

Source: New Mexico Energy, Minerals & Natural Resources Department