Pattern Development spokesperson: Western Spirit line, Mesa Canyons wind project on track to begin construction in 2019

Pattern Energy Group 2 LP (Pattern Development) on May 21 said that it has acquired the Western Spirit Transmission Line and Mesa Canyons Wind Farm in New Mexico from Clean Line Energy Partners.

As to what prompted the sale, a Clean Line Energy spokesperson on May 24 told TransmissionHub that the sale of the assets “demonstrates that low-cost wind [and] long-haul transmission is a path to a cleaner energy future.”

She added that “there is a powerful trend happening across the country at the state level where” utilities like NextEra Energy’s (NYSE:NEE) NextEra Energy Resources, among others, have decided to build new transmission infrastructure to deliver large amounts of wind energy to the market.

“This is a proven model that is beneficial to consumers,” the spokesperson said.

As TransmissionHub reported, Clean Line Energy last December said that NextEra Energy Resources has acquired Plains and Eastern Clean Line Oklahoma LLC and all of the assets for the Plains & Eastern Clean Line transmission project in Oklahoma.

The spokesperson said, “Clean Line was successful in bringing the Western Spirit transmission line and Mesa Canyons wind farm to advanced stages of development and we are so pleased that Pattern Development will now take both projects over the finish line.”

A Pattern Development spokesperson on May 24 told TransmissionHub that both projects are on track to begin construction next year, with target commercial operations by the end of 2020.

According to the Western Spirit project website, the 140-mile electric transmission line will gather wind energy from the central region of New Mexico and deliver about 1,000 MW of power to the existing electric grid in northwestern New Mexico.

The line – which is an investment of about $150m – is under development by Pattern Development and the New Mexico Renewable Energy Transmission Authority (RETA), which will own the line once it is operational, according to the site.

The new 345-kV AC line will begin near Corona, N.M., and will terminate northwest of Albuquerque at the Public Service Company of New Mexico’s (PNM) Rio Puerco substation, according to the site.

According to the Mesa Canyons project website, the wind farm will be located on ranchland south of the Village of Corona in Lincoln County; will be developed in phases; and could be as large as 1,000 MW.

According to the project’s application for location approval filed with New Mexico regulators last September, the project plans to interconnect with the Western Spirit line.

The wind farm’s Phase I of about 330 MW of wind generation is expected to be in operation by the end of 2019, according to the application.

At the time, Mesa Canyons Wind LLC (Mesa Canyons) – a wholly owned subsidiary of Mesa Canyons Wind Holdings LLC, which is a wholly owned subsidiary of Clean Line Energy – said in its application that it has obtained land rights with 14 private landowners – or land trusts – that represent all of the private land, as well as a large majority of the total area for which location approval is requested.

According to the direct testimony of Hans Detweiler, vice president of Development, Clean Line Energy, the layout for Phase I – which is comprised of about 38,500 acres of leased private land – includes 132 wind turbines, 33.5 miles of existing public access roads, 75.4 miles of new and improved access roads, 81.3 miles of electrical collection lines, and one substation that will be about five acres in size.

Mesa Canyons said in its application that it is also pursuing approvals with the State Land Office for use of about 12,000 acres of land for a second phase of the project, with plans to ultimately seek an additional approximately 20,500 acres of state land for subsequent phases of the project, and has performed studies regarding the site and its proposed use for wind facilities. Each phase may be more or less than 300 MW, and will be developed as contractual arrangements are executed, Mesa Canyons said.

About Corina Rivera-Linares 3067 Articles
Corina Rivera-Linares, chief editor for TransmissionHub, has covered the U.S. power industry for the past 15 years. Before joining TransmissionHub, Corina covered renewable energy and environmental issues, as well as transmission, generation, regulation, legislation and ISO/RTO matters at SNL Financial. She has also covered such topics as health, politics, and education for weekly newspapers and national magazines. She can be reached at clinares@endeavorb2b.com.