BELEN, N.M. (KRQE) – The City of Belen will soon become a hub for renewable energy infrastructure in the southwest. Earlier this month, New Mexico’s Economic Development Department announced Arcosa Wind Towers will open up a production facility along Highway 304 in the Rio Grande Industrial Park, just outside the city limits.
“After talking with them, we became one of their final three locations and we were lucky enough (because) 30 days later they picked us,” says Joshua Kerns, the Community and Economic Development Director for the City of Belen.
State officials say Arcosa received $750 million in new orders, many for wind turbines here in New Mexico. Arcosa plans to take over the abandoned Keter Plastics building and a Burlington Northern Rail Spur. They’re set to bring 250 jobs.
“It was very disappointing that factory became vacant because we were very excited about what was going on then so we’re really excited to see it come back into operation,” Steven Tomita, the Development Service Director for the city of Belen said. City officials say Belen is the perfect place because of its location off I-25, the railyards, and their regional airport.
Mayor Robert Noblin says the economic boom could be a game changer for the city. “It’s exciting for our local individuals looking for a career or a career change and it’s exciting for the city of Belen and what it will mean to us economically,” he said. Noblin hopes this will be the start of more industry moving in. “We have a lot of property available and so, yes, we welcome larger companies to look at Belen.”
Even though many of the orders will ship out of state, city officials and the Governor have signaled, this could be a sign of more wind energy being used right here in the state. “With New Mexico weather and how windy it gets, especially in the spring, I don’t see why not,” Kerns said.
City Council is due to vote on economic development funding to help the project at their next meeting. The hope is to start seeing development at the site by early 2024.