Home Opinion Dear Editor Letter: Sagamore Wind Project: Wow, 25 years

Letter: Sagamore Wind Project: Wow, 25 years


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The New Mexico Energy Transition Act (ETA), passed as law in 2019, requires that all electricity generation has to be zero-emission by 2050.

Recently Xcel Energy said, “Our billion-dollar Sagamore Wind Project hit a recent construction milestone, and topped out the first of 240 wind turbines [with a natural gas power plant backup]. The project will generate enough electricity to power 194,000 homes annually while saving customers tens of millions of dollars and reducing carbon emissions [over the next 25 years].”

And I say, “Wow!” That is quite a statement from Xcel. If the latest wind turbine technology will only last 25 years, that means every wind turbine already erected in New Mexico and every wind turbine erected over the next five years will be obsolete by 2050.

To meet the 2050 zero-emission requirement of the ETA law, every wind turbine in New Mexico will have to be replaced. That presents two very serious problems: the cost of replacement and the cost and location of decommissioning the old obsolete wind turbines’ non-recyclable parts.

If the wind turbines are not replaced, then the electricity generation will have to be by natural gas power plants, which generate (greenhouse gases) if carbon capture is not perfected by 2050. From my perspective, it appears that the oil and gas industry is going to leverage electricity generation in New Mexico and all utilities, big or small, will violate the New Mexico ETA emission laws.

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Can I say “Wow” again? I said in previous letters that this ETA was going to be a boondoggle and it looks like the state has another “sunk cost” program the taxpayers are going to get stuck with.

Martin Kral