Colorado PUC okays power line to aid wind development in northeast Colorado

The Colorado Public Utilities Commission on April 10 approved a Feb. 6 application from Tri-State Generation and Transmission Association for a Certificate of Public Convenience and Necessity (CPCN) for the Burlington–Lamar 230-kV Transmission Line Project, which is expected to open up part of Colorado for new renewable energy development.

This project, which encountered no opposition during the commission review process, consists of a new single-circuit 230-kV transmission line connecting the existing Burlington and Lamar substations. The approximately 90-110 mile long transmission line will be constructed on wood H-frame structures on a planned 150-foot wide right-of-way. The project also involves the installation of certain terminal equipment in the Burlington and Lamar substations.

A 230-kV transmission line is now being constructed between Burlington and the Wray–North Yuma system to the north of Wray. The CPCN for this line was granted in 2011.

“Following an outage of the Burlington–Big Sandy–Lincoln–Midway 230-kV system, the generation in northeast Colorado is transmission constrained under present conditions,” the commission noted in the April 10 approval. “Overloads on the underlying 115 kV network in the area occur during periods of high generation. This condition is exacerbated during low-load, high-wind conditions. To ensure 115 kV overloads do not occur, the Burlington area generation is restricted through operating procedures and agreements. The future Burlington–Wray 230 kV project significantly relieves these restrictions but does not, however, provide sufficient relief to accommodate all planned future generation, including the 150 MW Carousel Wind project, to be connected into the Burlington system in 2015.”

The new project will mitigate unacceptable voltages and voltage deviations in the Lamar area following a Boone–Lamar 230 kV line outage, as well as mitigate transmission constraints in the Lamar and Burlington areas. The project also increases transmission capacity in regions with a high potential for new wind resources. The total cost of the project has been estimated by Tri-State to be $72.6 million, including the termination facilities to be added to the Burlington and Lamar substations. 

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.