Cielo's bid was one of just two received in response to Southwestern's request for proposals, a response that disappointed the utility (Windpower Monthly, June 1998). Construction will start on the Llano Estacado Wind Ranch near Clovis in eastern New Mexico in April. It will consist of a Vestas V47 turbine from Denmark.
Under the program, named Wind Source, customers can choose to pay a $3.00 premium monthly for a 100 kWh block of green power from the wind ranch. The subscribers will not be billed until the turbine starts production, says Steve Hardy, program manager. He stresses that wind power is not only a cleaner technology, but conventional power plants use more water-a distinct disadvantage in dry areas such as New Mexico. Once the program is 80% subscribed, the utility hopes to add another turbine. Officials say that 1500 subscribers each buying a single block of power will be needed to buy the turbine output.
This is not the utility's first foray into wind. An affiliate of the Southwestern Public Service, Quixx Corp, is part owner of an existing 35 MW wind farm in Culberson County in West Texas. And another affiliate, Public Service Company of Colorado, already has 5000 subscribers to its growing Wind Source program.