House wind farm helps to power Super Bowl

Freedom New Mexico: Chelle Delaney When the wind turbines went up three years ago, rancher Carl Parmer said he would never have imagined that they would be associated with the Super Bowl. Parmer stands with his wife, Tina, and daughter, Summer.

By Chelle Delaney: Freedom New Mexico

Among all the excitement and hype of Sunday’s Super Bowl XLII, the little community of House in Quay County has become a player.

Its wind turbines are helping the National Football League produce a “green” Super Bowl event in Phoenix.

The NFL calls it the “greening of the Super Bowl.”

“I had no idea,” said Brent Mitchell, the lead manager of the New Mexico Wind Energy Center about 7 miles west of House.

Mitchell and 15 others work the farm of 136 turbines that rise above the Caprock at House.
The huge whirring turbines sit on land that belongs to traditional farmers and ranchers, like Carl Parmer, who has 27 turbines on his ranch.

Parmer likes the idea that House’s turbines have a stage presence, albeit a small one, at the University of Phoenix Stadium.

“It’s kind of neat,” said Parmer, admitting he’s not a regular football watcher. “But I’m backing the Patriots because it’d be nice to see them have a perfect season.”

The wind turbines at House are operated and maintained by the New Mexico Wind Energy Center, which is owned by FPL Energy.

It has a long-term contract with PNM to sell energy generated by the turbines, according to company literature. PNM markets the power from the center in New Mexico and the western United States.

The NFL began discussions six months ago with The Salt River Project in Arizona about providing renewable energy for Super Bowl XLII, said Laurie Singleton, Salt River Project’s manager for environmental initiatives.

“The SRP provides renewable energy to their customers from sources like wind energy from New Mexico and Texas, solar energy from Arizona and geothermal energy from California,” Singleton said.

The renewable energy the NFL has purchased for this single event could power 750 homes for a month, Singleton said.

“It is a win-win situation for the NFL and the Valley of the Sun Phoenix Metropolitan area,” Singleton said. “This will help to educate others on the importance of using renewable energy.”

The NFL paid an extra premium to have renewable energy on the grid to offset the amount of traditional energy consumption.

The NFL’s environmental program initiative, according to the NFL’s Super Bowl Web Site, focuses on combining sound business decisions and good environmental practices in ways that benefit the host community and leave an environmental legacy of the Super Bowl.
No matter who wins, House and its turbines appear to have scored points for renewable energy.

Freedom New Mexico staff writer Thomas Garcia contributed to this report.