Serving Clovis, Portales and the Surrounding Communities

Wind company expects first turbine to go up near end of June

CNJ staff photo: Sharna Johnson The first turbine in a windfarm planned about a half mile south of the city's landfill is expected to be erected by the end of June.

A wind turbine manufacturing facility coming to Clovis is pushing projections by about a month but is still in the works.

Vert-I-Go Wind L.L.C. is expecting to have its first wind turbine erected by the end of June, a little shy of its targeted first-half of this year, according to Economic development specialist Gene Hendrick.

Hendrick said the company has been working to improve the efficiency of the unit it is erecting and has done soil tests.

“I think last week they buttoned it up,” Hendrick said.

Vert-I-Go’s turbines have a generator and gearbox which can be placed near the ground, so the tower doesn’t need to support it, and it is more accessible for maintenance.

It is a contrast to most wind turbines in New Mexico, which are mostly horizontal-axis, with the turbine at the top of a tall tower.

Officials have said the company will bring six local jobs to Clovis in its first year and ramp the job count up to 60 by 2013.

Hendrick said the company initially was going to use land northeast of the city’s landfill, but dirt hills surrounding the facility were a potential hindrance to wind. Instead, they settled on a 6-acre parcel south of the landfill with an option for an additional 34 acres later for a five-megawatt wind farm and manufacturing plant for its wind turbines.

Kurt Knapton, CEO of Abundant Energy, said his company has leased a facility in Clovis and, “we have made progress on some of those things (related to the project).”

Local economic development officials have said the project is one of many they can foresee coming to Clovis over the next few years along with the Tres Amigas project, a superstation that could connect the country’s three largest energy grids.

The company has said it plans to establish a manufacturing and assembly facility in Clovis to service its local activities as well as its national and international needs.

Clovis was a prime location for the project, company officials have said, because of strong wind resources, proactive community leaders, efficient rail and infrastructure and quality local suppliers.