Colorado Highland Wind project expansion completed

The expansion of Colorado’s newest renewable energy facility is complete, with the Colorado Highlands Wind project now capable of generating 91 MW of electricity for Tri-State Generation and Transmission Association.

The facility came on-line in December 2012, with 42 1.6-MW General Electric turbines able to produce 67 MW. The expansion – announced in April and going into construction in July – consists of an additional 14 1.7-MW GE turbines, increasing the facility’s total current capacity by 36%, Tri-State noted in an Oct. 1 statement.

Tri-State has a 20-year power purchase agreement to receive all the electricity and environmental attributes from the wind farm, which is jointly owned by Alliance Power of Littleton, Colo., and GE Energy Financial Services of Stamford, Conn. It is located on 6,640 acres in northeast Colorado’s Logan County – in the service territory of Tri-State member co-op Highline Electric Association.

“Colorado Highlands Wind has been performing extremely well since being brought on-line late last year,” said Tri-State senior vice president Brad Nebergall. “Since it was originally designed to accommodate 91 megawatts on the existing transmission system – and since Tri-State is always proactively pursuing projects that make sense for us and our member electric co-ops – the expansion of Colorado Highlands Wind was an opportunity we quickly embraced.”

Colorado Highlands Wind is currently one of three utility-scale renewable energy facilities from which Tri-State receives all of the electrical output and renewable energy credits.

In 2010, Tri-State began purchasing the electricity generated at the 51-MW Kit Carson Windpower Project in eastern Colorado as well as the 30-MW Cimarron Solar Facility in northeastern New Mexico. Combined with Tri-State’s renewable hydropower resources, renewable energy generation makes up about 18% of the energy the association provides to its member co-ops.

Tri-State worked with First Solar and Southern Co. to develop the Cimarron project, within the service territory of Tri-State member system Springer Electric Cooperative. The Cimarron facility is the largest solar photovoltaic project by an electric cooperative and one of the largest facilities of its kind, the Tri-State website noted.

In addition to these larger projects, Tri-State’s member co-ops have another 49 MW of community-based renewable and distributed generation projects in operation or scheduled to be in operation in the near future.

In 2013, Tri-State said it adopted a new wholesale rate, along with demand management and energy shaping product offerings that, among other things, will assist it to better integrate intermittent renewable resources into its power supply.

About Barry Cassell 20414 Articles
Barry Cassell is Chief Analyst for GenerationHub covering coal and emission controls issues, projects and policy. He has covered the coal and power generation industry for more than 24 years, beginning in November 2011 at GenerationHub and prior to that as editor of SNL Energy’s Coal Report. He was formerly with Coal Outlook for 15 years as the publication’s editor and contributing writer, and prior to that he was editor of Coal & Synfuels Technology and associate editor of The Energy Report. He has a bachelor’s degree from Central Michigan University.