FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
DATE: April 6, 2023
Joey Keefe, Assistant Commissioner of Communications
Commissioner Garcia Richard Joins NextEra, El Paso Electric to Launch Solar Array on State Land
Buena Vista Energy Center to produce enough energy to power 60,000 homes
SANTA FE, N.M. – New Mexico Commissioner of Public Lands Stephanie Garcia Richard joined NextEra Energy Resources and El Paso Electric at a ribbon cutting ceremony Wednesday to celebrate the completion of construction of the Buena Vista Energy Center on more than 2,700 acres of state land in Chaparral. The project is the largest solar array constructed on state lands in New Mexico and is expected to produce over 120 megawatts of solar power – enough energy to power roughly 60,000 homes, according to NextEra Energy Resources. Over the lifetime of the lease, the project is expected to generate about $12 million in revenue for New Mexico’s public schools and New Mexico State University.
“New Mexico is blessed with amazing sun and wind resources, and we have a great opportunity before us to harness these resources and create new and steady streams of revenue for our public schools and other beneficiaries. The Buena Vista project adds to this rapidly expanding footprint of renewable energy production on state lands and moves us one step forward to a cleaner future,” said Commissioner Garcia Richard. “As New Mexico strives to meet the renewable energy standards set under the Energy Transition Act, our Office of Renewable Energy continues to encourage projects that will make a tangible impact in the long run. And now that our Office of Renewable Energy is a permanent fixture at the State Land Office, the possibilities for future renewable energy production on state lands are endless.”
Legislation to establish a permanent Office of Renewable Energy within the State Land Office was recently signed into law. The legislation builds on the early successes of the Office of Renewable Energy that Commissioner Garcia Richard established in 2019, which tripled the amount of renewable energy under lease on state lands in just four years.
There are currently 27 leases for wind energy production either operational or under development on state lands, totaling about 1.6 gigawatts of wind power – roughly the amount of energy needed to power 320,000 homes. Additionally, there are currently 12 leases for solar energy production either operational or under development on state lands, totaling about 273.5 megawatts of solar power, or enough energy to power roughly 54,700 homes.
Revenue that the State Land Office generates from sources that do not permanently deplete resources, such as renewable energy, are distributed directly to public schools, universities and other institutions each month.
Commissioner of Public Lands Stephanie Garcia Richard has overseen the New Mexico State Land Office since 2019. In that time the agency has raised more than $5 billion for New Mexico public schools, hospitals, and universities. 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 State Land Office has a dual mandate to use state trust land to financially support vital public institutions, while simultaneously working to protect the land for future generations.