Lucky Corridor signed an anchor tenant agreement with Gallegos Wind Farm for 300 MW of the line’s 850 MW capacity, CEO Lynn Greene told TransmissionHub on July 29.
Lucky Corridor has proposed a 93-mile, double-circuit 230-kV line upgrade of an existing 115-kV Tri-State Generation and Transmission Association line between Taos and Farley in northern New Mexico. The project is estimated to cost $322m and would move renewable energy toward the Four Corners NYMEX hub, where several coal plants have announced retirement.
“Transmission upgrades in the renewable energy and gas resource areas near Four Corners, such as we have proposed, are a step toward protecting this NYMEX hub and its large historic distribution network as the Western Interconnection’s energy resource mix evolves,” Greene said.
The Gallegos project plans to develop wind energy resources in northeastern New Mexico. Gallegos is currently looking to secure power purchase agreements at the Four Corners NYMEX hub.
“The wind business here is good, because some of the projects that have been in deep sleep in our region are now back, and there are first rate companies looking at them,” Greene said.
To investigate the merits of upgrading transmission in northern Mew Mexico, Lucky Corridor and the Gallegos project engaged Richard Simon, managing director of V-Bar, to evaluate the wind resource. Simon has been collecting data from land included within the Gallegos project footprint in central Union County, New Mexico, for several years. According to Simon, the Gallegos project, and additional large areas within Union County, has confirmed or projected long-term mean annual wind speeds of 8-9 meters/second (18mph to 20 mph) at the typical turbine hub heights.
This wind speed distribution allows for annual net capacity factors in the mid-40% range.
Separately, a memorandum of understanding (MOU) between Lucky Corridor and the New Mexico Renewable Energy Transmission Authority (RETA) was approved on July 16.
Pursuant to that contract, RETA will assist in the design of Lucky Corridor’s construction phase project finance structure. That structure is projected to include industrial revenue or other bond financing. RETA is also contemplating further work with Lucky Corridor in the pre-construction and construction phases of the project.
FERC in October 2012 granted Lucky Corridor authority to charge negotiated rates.