REM: Western Spirit transmission line sold to PNM Resources for $285mn
Public Service Company of New Mexico, a wholly owned subsidiary of PNM Resources, has closed on its $285mn purchase of the Western Spirit transmission line in New Mexico.
The line will accommodate up to 800 MW of new wind energy in the eastern part of the state.
The news is important because of how vital new transmission is to the deployment of the renewable energy – mostly wind and solar – that will be needed to achieve President Joe Biden’s goal of a carbon-free grid by 2035.
PNM had announced in May 2019 that it had entered into an agreement with affiliates of Pattern Energy of San Francisco and the New Mexico Renewable Energy Transmission Authority (RETA) to purchase the line.
“This project demonstrates one way New Mexico's renewable potential can be used to advance the state's economy, and it also highlights the critical need for transmission investment to achieve the clean energy future,” said PNM Resources’ chairman, president and chief executive, Pat Vincent-Collawn.
By the end of 2021, Pattern will bring online the 1.05-GW Western Spirit cluster of wind farms that will be accommodated by the transmission line. The projects are in Guadalupe, Lincoln and Torrance Counties and consist of 377 GE wind turbines. Their output will be sold to Uniper, the German energy company, and to a trio of California companies: San Jose Clean Energy, Silicon Valley Clean Energy and Monterey Bay Clean Power.
Earlier this month, in a surprise decision, New Mexico regulators denied Connecticut-based Avangrid's $8bn purchase of PNM Resources. Avangrid, part of Spain-based energy conglomerate Iberdrola, is a major renewable energy developer.
But a regulatory hearing examiner said the take-over could lead to fewer renewable resources being developed in New Mexico, as well as other problems. In the north-eastern US, Avangrid currently faces $60mn in fines and penalties for pricey and spotty services.