On his ranch in rural northeastern New Mexico, Damon Brown had long assumed that wind energy could provide financial sustainability for ranchers. The economics of this resource, however, are largely unknown. To determine how wind energy could benefit his and other ranches in Union County, Brown sought assistance from NMSBA, which linked him to the University of New Mexico Anderson School of Management.
The Anderson School team synthesized a broad body of information to assemble a wind energy business analysis. This included background data on wind energy, equipment and setup costs, regulatory issues, expected returns, and typical points of negotiation between landowners and wind developers. The team then combined the business analysis with an investigation of local and regional wind projects and revenue ranges. The result was a tailored discussion of factors Brown Ranch should consider as it pursues wind development. The analysis also addressed the unique attributes and advantages Brown Ranch has to create wind developer interest and enhance its negotiating leverage.
With this analysis, Brown can now consider wind development proposals and assess their financial potential. Additionally, the information can be used to benefit the entire area. “Our landowners’ association did not have the capability or resources to create a viable economic development strategy on our own,” says Brown. “With NMSBA’s help, we can now find the sweet spot of sustainability in wind energy development negotiations.”