Torrance County approves $385 million bond for wind farm

In a special meeting of the Torrance County Board of Commissioners, approval was unanimously given for issuance of a $385 million Industrial Revenue Bond for construction of the La Joya wind generation project west of Encino. 

The issuance of an IRB does not make the county financially liable in any way.

The project is being developed by La Joya Wind LLC, a subsidiary of Avangrid Renewables, who developed the El Cabo wind farm.

State Land Commissioner Stephanie Garcia-Richard on Sept. 11 approved a lease on 7,000 acres of state land for part of the project.

Director of business development Mark Stacy told The Independent La Joya wants to begin the project soon after the new year and look to finish it by the end of 2020.

Stacy said they plan to hire between 350 and 400 temporary construction workers starting in the new year. A permanent, full-time crew of 10 to 15 workers will remain to manage the project.

Stacy said El Cabo included over 50 miles of roads that were constructed by a local company, and La Joya will be similar.

The La Joya project is part of a purchase power agreement with Facebook in Los Lunas to be built in two phases. It is engineered to produce 306 mega-watts of electricity.

Payments in lieu of taxes to be paid by the wind development to Torrance County and the Estancia School District are scheduled to be between $2,500 and $3,250 per mega-watt, or between $765,000 and $994,500 a year.