Xcel company proposes new 230-kV line in Colorado

Public Service Company of Colorado, an Xcel Energy (NYSE:XEL) company, has proposed to build a new overhead single-circuit 230-kV electric transmission line to provide a reliable second power source into central Garfield County, Colo., communities, including the towns of Rifle and Parachute.

Besides adding the second 230-kV line between its existing Rifle and Parachute substations, the company said the Rifle to Parachute transmission line project also consists of improvements to those substations, the company said on its website.

While the final route for the new line is not yet known, the line will begin at the Rifle substation located one mile south and 1.5 miles east of the town of Rifle, Colo., and will travel southwest for about 18 miles to the Parachute substation located at the intersection of Highways 6 and 24. The company also said the line will traverse private property as well as public lands owned and operated by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM).

“We are planning to submit our [certificate of public convenience and necessity] application for this project on Dec. 14” to the Colorado Public Utilities Commission, the company said.

The new line is needed to provide additional transmission capacity to serve the current and expected oil and gas production and exploration in the project area, including the Piceance Basin and surrounding area, the company said.

Among the main equipment components of oil and gas development are compressors, the company said, noting that strict environmental regulations and competitive electricity pricing drive the choice towards electric-driven compressors, which lower emissions for decreased environmental impact. The anticipated demand increase is about 50 MW by 2015.

The company also said that the new line will prevent contingency overloads of its existing Rifle to Parachute 230-kV line that could occur under high demand and high transfer level conditions.

“The transmission system, as it exists today, does not have the capability to accommodate the additional oil and gas production and exploration anticipated in the future,” the company said, adding that the existing 230-kV structures between the two substations are single circuit capable.

Rebuilding them to double circuit capable – to string the new line on one side – is not possible due to construction outage limitations, so the new line will be built in a new 150-foot right-of-way, the company added.

Open house meetings are scheduled for Nov. 7 in Rifle and Nov. 8 in Parachute.

BLM said Oct. 30 that it will prepare an environmental analysis of the proposal, adding that before it completes the assessment, it wants to hear any issues, concerns and comments the public has about the proposal. Written comments and questions should be directed to the Colorado River Valley Field Office by Nov. 30, BLM said.

According to the company’s anticipated project schedule, if approved, transmission construction is to begin in April 2015, and the projected in-service date is Dec. 18, 2015.

About Corina Rivera-Linares 3058 Articles
Corina Rivera-Linares, chief editor for TransmissionHub, has covered the U.S. power industry for the past 15 years. Before joining TransmissionHub, Corina covered renewable energy and environmental issues, as well as transmission, generation, regulation, legislation and ISO/RTO matters at SNL Financial. She has also covered such topics as health, politics, and education for weekly newspapers and national magazines. She can be reached at clinares@endeavorb2b.com.