Gwynne Ann Unruh is an award-winning reporter formerly of the Alamosa Valley Courier, an independent paper in southern Colorado. She covers the environment for The Paper.

If you’re ready to relocate, southern Chamberino Colonia has 315 higher-paying wind and solar jobs available.

According to the 2010 census, Chamberino Colonia, located in Doña Ana County close to the Mexico/New Mexico border, had a population of  919. Listed as a ghost town on Ghosttowns.com, as of the 2019 census, the 3.057-square-mile unincorporated community had a population of just 625. Buzzing activity in an unused 68,000-square-foot warehouse, however, will soon create over 300 jobs and, with any luck, reverse the exodus, adding numbers to the dwindling population.

Wind Turbine & Energy Cables Corp. (WTEC Energy), a wind and solar energy supplier, is expanding into Doña Ana County and will give the old facility a new lease on life, creating 315 jobs over a five-year period. The warehouse was previously the site of a pet food processing plant and later a local packaged food operation. WTEC purchased the property for renovation and will begin manufacturing power cables for wind and solar technologies early in 2022.

The total financial investment in the facility would reach $20 million, including a state contribution of $2 million from its Local Economic Development Act (LEDA) job-creation funds and an additional $100,000 coming from El Paso Electric’s New Mexico Economic Development Fund, administered by the Mesilla Valley Economic Development Alliance and the Community Foundation of Southern New Mexico. The economic impact on our state’s economy is expected to be $409 million over the next 10 years. That’s a chunk of change.

“The state LEDA assistance will not only support these jobs, but it also helps hundreds of others in the wind and solar energy industries as we invest in these higher-paying and exciting new industries,” Economic Development Department Secretary Alicia J. Keyes said. The average salary is expected to be over $37,000.

“This project presents an opportunity for investment and economic development in a more rural part of the county,” said Doña Ana County Board of County Commissioners Chair Manuel Sanchez. “Their use of the former Alpo building is a way to repurpose an old facility and provides a location that will serve as a base for their operations.”

Founded by Brian Singh, president and CEO, who designed an innovative and more stable wire cable for GE turbines, WTEC Energy currently has locations in New Jersey, Texas, Arizona, Florida and Monterrey, Mexico. Singh has more than 35 years of experience in the wind industry, cable manufacturing and product development.

New Mexico’s incentives and the company’s close relationship with the Economic Development Department and MVEDA tipped the scale for Texas vs. New Mexico site evaluation. WTEC CEO Brian Singh said, “We see a lot of growth in the wind and solar sectors, and this positions us well to grow our manufacturing capacity and improve our competitive position in the market.”

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Gwynne Ann Unruh is an award-winning reporter formerly of the Alamosa Valley Courier, an independent paper in southern Colorado. She covers the environment for The Paper.