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Construction begins on large wind farm

No, it’s not a UFO. This is one of 32 wind tower turbine bases under construction in Chaves County as part of the Oso Grande Wind LLC project, which also covers parts of Eddy and Lea counties. (Submitted Photo)

Copyright © 2021 Roswell Daily Record

Construction has begun on the 32 wind turbine tower sites in Chaves County that are part of the Oso Grande Wind LLC project.

EDF Renewables North America, based in Oakland, California, and its subcontractor, Blattner Construction have begun work on the wind turbine tower sites in Chaves County, according to Bill Williams, Chaves County public services director.

Chaves County workers are performing inspections on each of the concrete bases that support the turbines, Williams said.

He added that the county has required third-party inspections of the turbines themselves and will review the inspection reports. The turbines’ components are scheduled to be delivered to the sites starting in the next couple of weeks, he said.

The $370 million project is being built on behalf of Tucson Electric Power of Arizona, which will own the wind farm and the electricity it generates upon its completion.

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As Brian Sarantos, EDF Renewables senior development manager, told county and state officials this summer while seeking permits and approval for the project, the wind farm involves 31 wind turbines and an alternate turbine around the Caprock area of Chaves County. The turbines, transmission lines and poles, and an electrical substation are being built on 17 parcels of private land.

About 31 other wind turbines will be built in Lea and Eddy counties. The company is also building what it is calling the Empire switchyard in Eddy County that will be owned by El Paso Electric.

Sarantos said that the wind farm will generate $15 million in annual lease payments to private landowners and $30 million in tax payments over the life of the project.

He also said it was expected to create at least 100 area jobs during the nine-month to yearlong construction, although wind turbine construction was planned to be performed by specialized companies.

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