Business feature: Clovis team part of wind turbine demonstration

By Kevin Wilson: CNJ staff writer

If you’re going to spend $100 on a cellular phone, you’re probably going to want to see a floor model in action.

Now replace “cellular phone” with “wind turbine,” and “$100” with “$1 million.

The need for demonstration remains.

“If you want to buy something that’s a 20-year asset,” Walt Hornaday of Cielo Wind Power said, “you want to see it work reliably.”

That’s why Hornaday, the president of Cielo, said the company is working with a national company with offices in Clovis to get out a “floor model” of wind turbines built by Samsung Heavy Industries.

Celo Wind Power of Austin, Texas, has selected Baker RD and its Clovis team to work on the three-turbine project outside of Lubbock, with construction started earlier this month.

According to a release from Cielo, the first of three Samsung 2.5-megawatt turbines should be operational by January, and the entire project will be completed in the first quarter of 2011.

“They had quite a bit of experience working on projects around the Southwest and they had the ability to do work on a very quick schedule,” Hornaday said of Baker RD, which couldn’t be reached for this story. “This is a small project, so we’re relying on the self-oversight of a key contractor.”

Samsung is based in Seoul, South Korea, the world’s second-largest shipyard, and got into the wind turbine market to make up for a drop in vessel orders.

The American Wind Energy Association said on its Web site that wind energy could supply up to one-fifth of U.S. electricity needs.

Hornaday said any wind generated by the demonstration turbines would go into the energy grid that serves eastern New Mexico.