We thank The Taos News for the two recent articles about our Lucky Corridor transmission project. We sincerely appreciate the public feedback to the articles, as well. One of the questions we often get concerns the unusual name of this project. What makes a utility corridor in Northern New Mexico “Lucky”?
How many New Mexicans know that the same light and air that has inspired artists here for centuries is also the source of some of the highest quality and quantity of renewable energy in the world? Northern New Mexico is the only region in the United States where the very best wind and solar energy occur together, which is incredibly rare.
No other region in the No.1 U.S. solar zone has the altitude found in Northern New Mexico, boosting the solar energy output. Union County, in Northern New Mexico, also has No.1 quality wind energy. Wind energy is strongest in most world regions late on a winter night. In Northern New Mexico, we have wind energy that occurs in the late afternoon and early evening, when people use electricity the most. To add to that picture, we have wind at this unusual, important time of day even on a summer afternoon, when the US Southwest has peak energy demand, due to the increasing need for air conditioning. That is Lucky.
Will New Mexico’s own future power supply be made from Northern New Mexico’s amazing resources? Northern New Mexico must have the infrastructure to distribute its renewable energy in order to share in the jobs and tax base clean energy brings. Lucky Corridor facilities would consist of new equipment designed to last for the next 50 years. This is the same modern electricity and telecommunications equipment that high-tech companies look for today, when deciding where to operate in the decades to come.
We heard from the Taos community that it is concerned about the potential height of new power poles, and that the community wants us to focus on reducing visual impacts from any new facilities which may be approved.
We are listening, and looking at ways to address height and reduction of visual impact. As we move forward, we will engage stakeholders within communities to discuss the project and to reduce visual impacts.
New Mexico has always been an energy rich state. After World War II, the coal plants at New Mexico’s Four Corners energy hub historically supplied 70 percent of all the energy used in western North America. Yes, the grid was built to carry New Mexico’s electricity made from coal even to western Canada and Mexico. The other 30 percent of the historic western North America electricity supply was principally hydro power from the northwestern U.S.
A few years ago, increasing drought and decreasing air qualility caused by coal pollutants started the shift toward cleaner energy. California banned the import of electricity made from New Mexico’s coal plants. Four Corners is in danger of losing much of its business unless New Mexico’s clean energy is developed in the immediate future.
It is great luck to live and work in a clean energy resource region, blessed by the resources which will fuel our future and that of the southwestern United States. Modern clean energy infrastructure can make Northern New Mexico a place where our children will choose to live, for its beauty, educational and work opportunities, and for a quality of life as rare as the special light and air that has always shined right here.
Lynn Chapman Greene is manager and CEO of Lucky Corridor, LLC.