FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
January 11, 2021
Angie Poss, Assistant Commissioner of Communications
Office of Renewable Energy Announces Two New Projects: 480 Acres Leased for Solar and 642 Acres Leased for Wind
New renewable energy projects will bring $5.2 million in new revenue for New Mexico public schools
SANTA FE, NM – The New Mexico State Land Office on Friday held auctions for two renewable energy projects. The winning bidders – Wildcat Solar Power Plant, LLC and Boulevard Associates, LLC – will move forward with development of new solar and wind energy projects that combined will bring an estimated $5.2 million in new revenue for the state trust land beneficiary. In both cases, the assigned beneficiary is New Mexico public schools.
With these new leases, Commissioner of Public Lands Stephanie Garcia Richard has signed renewable energy leases totaling over $85 million in lifetime project revenue since assuming office in 2019. When new and pending projects are completed, renewable generation on state trust land will total around 920 megawatts (MW). 1 MW of renewable energy can power anywhere from 350 to 1,000 homes.
Wildcat Solar Power Plant
Wildcat Solar Power Plant, LLC, a subsidiary of Solariant Capital, submitted the winning bid today for 480 acres of state trust land in McKinley County. The Wildcat Solar Power Plant will encompass 960 acres of a mix of trust land and private land. PV solar panels will be installed on a single-axis tracker system, enabling the facility to follow the sun east-to-west and increase the overall energy yield.
“In 2020, the State Land Office made enormous strides in increasing our wind energy footprint. Right now, solar is poised to dominate the renewable energy applications that come to fruition within our Office of Renewable Energy,” Commissioner Garcia Richard said. “Over the life of the lease for the Wildcat solar project, we will raise an estimated $4.3 million for New Mexico public schools. Renewable energy revenue is and will continue helping us to diversify our revenue portfolio.”
The Wildcat Solar Power Plant will be supported by on site battery energy storage to dispatch solar power day or night. This will be the second solar project on state trust land to include an energy storage system.
“Solariant Capital is pleased to partner with the Commissioner of Public Lands and the New Mexico State Land Office for development of a 90 MW solar project and support the clean energy goal set by the State. The project also plans to incorporate a 47 MW/188 MWh battery energy storage system to provide a higher level of reliability on New Mexico’s electric grid,” Daniel Kim, Managing Director at Solariant Capital said. “Over the course of its development, construction and operation, the Wildcat Solar project will deliver environmental, social, and economic benefits to residents of McKinley County and across the state, including the use of local labor force for construction of the facility and delivery of cleaner energy with minimal impacts to animal habitats, wetlands and cultural resources.”
Borderlands Wind Project
Boulevard Associates, LLC, a subsidiary of NextEra Energy, submitted the winning bid today for 642 acres of state trust land in Catron County. The Borderlands Wind Project will be built south of U.S. Highway 60 near the Arizona-New Mexico border and in total will comprise approximately 17,000 acres of land, mostly public land managed by the Bureau of Land Management. When completed, the entire facility will consist of approximately 34 wind turbines – two on the state trust land portion – capable of generating 100 MW annually.
“The two projects auctioned today are just the beginning of what we anticipate will be a record breaking year of positive developments for New Mexico’s clean energy economy. Even though our footprint on the Borderlands facility is small, the impact it will have in helping New Mexico achieve our renewable energy future cannot be understated,” Commissioner Stephanie Garcia Richard continued. “Over the course of this lease, the Borderlands project will bring in over $900,000 of new revenue through the State Land Office for New Mexico’s public schools.”
The company has also executed an Industrial Revenue Bond with both Catron County and the Quemado School District which they estimate totaling approximately $10 million in community tax investment over the life of the project. Roughly 100 employees will be brought on during the construction phase.
“We are very pleased to continue working with the great state of New Mexico to develop a project that will produce millions in tax and lease revenue, create good-paying jobs to build it, and generate clean, renewable energy for years to come,” said Gabe Henehan, Development Project Director for NextEra Energy Resources.
NextEra Energy Resources, LLC has over $1 billion invested in New Mexico, including four wind projects, four solar projects and a battery energy storage project in the state.
Under the leadership of Commissioner of Public Lands Stephanie Garcia Richard, the New Mexico State Land Office has seen back-to-back years of revenue over $1 billion. Over 13 million acres of state trust land are leased for a variety of uses, including ranching and farming, renewable energy, business development, mineral development, and outdoor recreation. The money earned from leasing activity supports 22 beneficiaries – New Mexico public schools, seven universities and colleges, the School for the Deaf, the School for the Blind and Visually Impaired, three hospitals, water and land conservation projects, and public building construction and repair.