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Curry County’s Wind Energy Success

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Project Profile: Grady Martin Wind in Curry County, New Mexico

For generations, the main industry in New Mexico has been agriculture. But for years now, the industry has been struggling. My grandma grew up on a major farm in Valencia County which is now no longer around. While there are some dairy and agriculture operations around New Mexico, the economy has shifted to rely more on technology, military operations, and the entertainment industry with New Mexico housing Kirtland Airforce Base, Sandia National Laboratories, Los Alamos National Laboratories, Netflix, and recently Facebook. 

I grew up during this industry transition. I’ve seen New Mexico grow tremendously in the metro area, but in areas in more rural outstretches, like Grants and Hobbs, I’ve seen failing roads, crumbling infrastructure, and schools that desperately need funding. Many New Mexicans complain that oil and gas revenue from the southeastern parts of the state goes to Santa Fe and is never felt in the rural areas where the resources are derived. This makes for an uneven economic impact where citizens feel disconnected from the economic successes that come from their very own soil. Similar stories of economic hardships are happening all over the state, like Curry County for instance.  

Curry County has some of the strongest wind speeds in the country coupled with a history of being a major agricultural community in New Mexico. However, many people have relocated throughout the years which has caused a massive drop in the population and therefore economic production.[2] [4] To avoid becoming one of the many ghost towns we see across the state, a group of residents came together to bring life back to Curry County.

One of the solutions that they came up with to revive the county was to bring more wind energy projects to development. Residents worked together with developers to site and construct the Grady Martin Wind Project so that it benefited them directly, and that was a major key in their success. Farmers got a chance to have a new form of stable income, and the local economy grew back up as a result. Curry County and the Grady Martin Wind Project are a prime example of how renewable energy projects can not only rebuild a struggling rural community, but expand our state’s clean energy footprint as well.

Like Curry County residents, you, too, can be an advocate for renewable energy in your community. Sign our petition to join a growing community of renewable energy advocates around the state!

Written by Danielle Garcia
Danielle grew up in Bosque Farms, New Mexico in Valencia County. From an early age, she was passionate about working with young girls of color getting involved in leadership roles around science topics. With a lot of support and scholarships, she went to Eckerd College in Florida getting a BA in Geoscience with minors in Environmental Studies and Philosophy. Attending Eckerd College, Danielle was a Co-Founder of a social justice club, Latinos Unidos, the first club to reach Latinos on campus. Over the next free years, she became involved in political and environmental aspects seeing where they intersected. Now back in New Mexico with her cats, she has grown even more passionate about climate change and bringing an equitable system of sustainability to future generations.

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