Wed. Jun 3rd, 2020

First turbine up at Xcel Energy’s Sagamore wind plant

PORTALES (KSEL)- Construction crews at Xcel Energy’s Sagamore Wind Project in Roosevelt County have topped out the first of 240 Vestas wind turbines that will generate enough electricity to power 194,000 homes annually while saving customers tens of millions of dollars and reducing carbon emissions.

“Our builder, Wanzek Construction, has done a great job staying on track and working safely over the past couple of months,” said Brian Hudson, Xcel Energy project manager at the Sagamore construction site. “The pandemic has presented challenges, but we’ve worked together to adjust construction timelines to ensure components from around the globe will be delivered in time to meet our December in-service date.”

Turbine components are being offloaded at a railhead near Hobbs and trucked approximately 100 miles to the site near Dora in rural Roosevelt County.

Two types of Vestas turbines are being installed at Sagamore, the Vestas V110-2.0 MW and V120-2.2 MW. The turbines are lifted into place by cranes atop towers that are shipped in three segments and assembled on site.

The construction workforce will number between 400 and 500 at the peak, and once the wind facility is in operation, a full-time, permanent workforce of 30 will maintain and operate the facility. Approximately $900 million will be invested in the construction of the facility.

“This is one of the largest investments ever made in Roosevelt County, and beyond the initial economic impact of construction, Sagamore will generate $131.5 million in state and local benefits, including $43 million in gross receipts tax revenue, over its 25-year lifespan,” Hudson said.

Sagamore is being constructed on close to 100,000 acres of rangeland and cultivated fields, and 98% of this area will remain in agricultural use. The project will save precious groundwater for farming, ranching and municipal use since wind farms require no water in their daily operations.

The fuel to operate the turbines is the free and abundant wind. Once Sagamore is operational it will immediately begin to save customers on their monthly bills, a percentage of which goes to pay for coal and natural gas to operate the company’s conventional generating fleet. Additionally, 100% of the federal production tax credits will flow to customers in the form of lower fuel costs. A similar facility built in Texas in 2019, the Hale Wind Project near Plainview, lowered fuel costs by approximately $80 million annually, leading to a more than 4% reduction in residential bills in the summer of 2019.

Sagamore and Hale are also reducing Xcel Energy’s carbon emissions and will help the company achieve its goal of providing 80% carbon-free electricity by 2030. The company aspires to a 100% carbon reduction by 2050.