If there’s one resource eastern New Mexico’s ranches have plenty of, it’s the persistent wind. Now, with help
from the NMSBA Program, the region’s landowners are learning how to assess the potential of wind energy
and generate sales from this natural resource.
The Coalition of Renewable Energy Landowner Associations (CRELA) is a group of ten wind power
associations in eastern New Mexico representing 2,000 ranchers and farmers across two million acres of
land. CRELA members approached NMSBA for help in educating landowners about assessing other uses of
their land’s resources, in particular, wind energy potential.
NMSBA tapped Loren Toole of Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL) and Craig White of the University
of New Mexico to teach the “Landowners’ Institute.” This six-class series focused on siting wind turbines,
assessing wind data, evaluating markets and pricing for power sales, and other wind energy topics. Toole
used LANL-developed models to create wind data maps as well as assess the region’s ability to generate
and transmit renewable energy to various markets. The landowners learned to interpret these virtual wind
maps for any point in the CRELA region, eliminating the need for expensive meteorological towers normally
used to gather wind data.
The overall focus of the Landowners’ Institute is to educate farmers and ranchers to work with renewable
energy developers. After completing the course, the landowners are now armed with the information they
need for intelligent negotiation in developing their land’s energy potential.