Torrance County commissioners resolved to issue an Industrial Revenue Bond for up to $1.82 billion to a consortium of six wind energy investors under the umbrella of Pattern Development at their Nov. 13 meeting. 

Pattern represents Cowboy Mesa, Duran Mesa, Tecolote Wind, Red Cloud Wind, Viento Loco, and Gallinas Mountains – all LLCs with a stake in the 1,300-megawatt project.

The issuance of an IRB does not financially obligate the county or cost anything.

With some details of Pattern’s proposed Corona Wind Project yet to be worked out, some consolidation of the six wind power entities may occur, according to Robert Burpo, the county’s financial advisor.

The project’s planned footprint would be south of U.S. 60 in Torrance County, extending into Guadalupe and Lincoln counties, as depicted on a map attached to the resolution.

Wind turbines are planned on “leased land, easements, rights of-way and other property rights,” according to the resolution.

Pattern proposes, in the document, to make payments in lieu of taxes to the county and to school districts within the project area. The affected school districts include Estancia, Vaughn and Corona.

Crystal Coffman, Pattern’s project developer, said the IRB for $1.82 million would be for only the Torrance County part of the project.

Power transmission lines are not included in the Corona project proposal, Coffman said, and would also need to be developed.

Coffman said the proposed Western Spirit transmission line project is currently co-owned by Pattern Development and New Mexico’s Renewable Energy Transmission Authority. As shown on the project map, the line runs from west of Albuquerque, south of the Manzano Mountains, then north to Clines Corners.

Pattern is the “anchor tenant” for the proposed SunZia transmission line, Coffman said. The SunZia project map depicts the line running from near Corona to near Wilcox, Arizona.

Asked by commissioner Kevin McCall whether transmission line projects would ask for IRBs, Coffman said that possibility needs to be addressed by the state legislature.

Also, at the meeting, the commission, by ordinance, issued an IRB to La Joya Wind, another wind power project in development by Avangrid Renewables in the amount of $385 million.

With the bond issued, Mark Stacy, project developer of La Joya, expects work to begin “right after the new year.”

In other business, the commission passed an amended version of a resolution sponsored by commissioner Javier Sanchez, creating the Torrance County Land Grant Advisory Board. 

They also approved the appointment of six members to the new board: Jason Quintana of Manzano, Andrew Gutierrez of Tajique, Juan Sanchez of Chilili, Leon Chavez of Torreón, Felipe Lovato of Abó, and Victor Romero of Punta de Agua.

The board is to meet at least once every quarter and “serve as a conduit for communication between the Board of County Commissioners and the Land Grant communities,” according to the resolution.

The commission also approved, by resolution, the creation of a “Heritage Center Development Committee,” to explore “the possibility of building a multi-use, multi-cultural center.”

The resolution states the new committee be comprised of one member from each municipality and land grant in the county, one from the Moriarty Historical Society and one from the National Parks Service.

The commission earmarked $10,000 for a feasibility study to be conducted by a contractor with the aid of the committee.