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Xcel plans $1.6 billion wind farms in New Mexico, West Texas

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PORTALES, N.M. (AP) — Xcel Energy has announced plans to invest $1.6 billion to build wind farms in eastern New Mexico and West Texas.

The energy company announced Tuesday that it has filed proposals with the New Mexico Public Regulation Commission and the Public Utility Commission of Texas to construct and operate two facilities and to purchase wind under a third transaction.

David Hudson, president of Xcel Energy of New Mexico and Texas, said the wind initiative is part of his company’s larger strategy to lower the cost of energy production.

“These new wind facilities will cost $1.6 billion to build,” Hudson said, “but will allow us to produce wind energy at a cost lower than energy produced at our coal and natural gas-fueled plants.”

Xcel plans to build a 522-megawatt wind facility about 20 miles south of Portales. The new wind farm will be the state’s largest, far surpassing the state’s current largest windfarm, a 250-watt holding in Roosevelt County owned by Xcel subsidiary Southwest Public Service Co.

The company also plans to build a 478-megawatt farm in Hale County, Texas, just north of Lubbock.

Xcel also plans to purchase another 230 megawatts of wind energy under a long-term power purchase agreement with NextEra Energy resources.

The new wind projects will save the company’s Texas and New Mexico customers about $2.8 billion over the next 30 years, said Xcel spokesman Wes Reeves.

“We’re doing it primarily because it’s the cheapest energy resource we can buy now, even lower than our coal generation,” Reeves told the Journal. “We can lock in a good price now to predict and know where that price will be for the future.”

Xcel serves about 385,000 customers in eastern New Mexico and West Texas through Southwest Public Service Co.

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