80-MW Caprock Wind Ranch to be constructed near Tucumcari

August 27th, 2003  |  Published in Press Releases

80-megawatt Caprock Wind Ranch™ to be constructed near Tucumcari

TUCUMCARI, New Mexico – August 27, 2003- Caprock Wind, LP plans to install up to 80 MW of wind-driven turbine generators about 20 miles southeast of Tucumcari within the next 12 months—to convert wind energy into electricity that will be sold to customers of Xcel Energy.

The planned Caprock Wind Ranch™ will be constructed on privately owned land in Quay County southeast of Tucumcari and southwest of San Jon, New Mexico.

Xcel Energy will purchase all of the output of the ranch’s 60-80 turbines for at least 15 years.

“If the federal production tax credit for wind power is continued,” Walter Hornaday, Caprock Wind LP president, said. “Caprock Wind Ranch™ will start commercial operations in August 2004.”

Caprock Wind LP is an affiliate of Cielo Wind Power, of Austin, Texas, a privately held company that develops, assists with construction of and maintains utility-grade wind-power projects.

“Cielo Wind Power is the largest developer of wind power in the Southwest, and has the Southwest’s largest development staff dedicated solely to cost-effective and environmentally responsible wind project development,” Hornaday said.

The wind-powered turbine generators that will be used at the ranch will rotate into shifting winds from atop tubular-steel towers more than 200 feet tall. Three blades, each nearly 100-feet-long, will drive each turbine, generating electricity when winds blow between 8 and 60 miles per hour.

Under normal conditions, an 80-megawatt facility will generate about 245,000 megawatt-hours of power each year, Hornaday estimated. That would provide sufficient electricity to serve the year-round average needs of about 26,600 Xcel Energy-served homes.

Xcel Energy provides electricity to more than 400,000 home, business and industrial accounts across eastern New Mexico, the High Plains of Texas, the Oklahoma Panhandle and southwestern Kansas.

“Generation from wind is particularly attractive in this region because of the strength of winds here and because wind generation, compared to generation at conventional power plants, conserves water, which is particularly important in this area,” Hornaday said. “The cooperation of landowners and Quay County officials is another driving force in developing a successful wind project in Quay County.”

“The purchase agreement we’ve signed with Caprock Wind, LP outlines pricing and contract conditions that are economical to Xcel Energy customers,” said Gary L. Gibson, Xcel Energy state president. “We are pleased to add these 80 megawatts to the nearly 81 megawatts of wind power that help us serve approximately one million people in this region.”

Regionally, Xcel Energy purchases wind power from a 660-kilowatt wind project at Texico and an 80-megawatt wind project near White Deer, Texas—both developed by Cielo Wind Power (www.cielowind.com). The Texico project is New Mexico’s first commercial-scale wind generation facility. Xcel Energy and Cielo expect an expansion of the Texico facility by the end of this year.

Xcel Energy sells the energy from the Texico turbine to customers who voluntarily pay a small premium to support development of wind energy. Call 1-800-824-1688 for information about the program, Windsource®.

Minneapolis-based Xcel Energy (www.xcelenergy.com) delivers about one-tenth of all the wind power sold in the United States, Gibson said. The company serves customers in 12 states, and is the nation’s fourth-largest combined natural gas and electricity supplier.