Xcel touts 600-MW wind project planned for Colorado

Xcel Energy Inc. (NYSE: XEL) said in its May 9 earnings report that its Public Service Co. of Colorado subsidiary plans to file in May at the Colorado Public Utilities Commission for approval of a 600-MW wind project.

Said Xcel Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer Ben Fowke: “I’m excited about the proposal we are planning to submit to construct, own and operate 600 megawatts of wind generation in Colorado. This $1 billion investment should deliver significant value to our customers and is structured to greatly enhance the local economy and the environment.”

Colorado legislation allows for utilities to own up to 50% of new renewable resources without a competitive bidding process if the project can be developed at a reasonable price and demonstrate economic benefit. In April 2016, the Colorado Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) determined that the amount of renewable resources PSCo is eligible to develop under the state legislation is based on renewable resources added to the PSCo system since March 2007.

As a result, in May 2016, PSCo expects to submit a proposal to build, own and operate a 600 MW wind facility at a cost of approximately $1 billion, including transmission investment. PSCo believes its proposed facility can be constructed at a reasonable cost compared to the cost of similar renewable resources available on the market, and that it will be able to demonstrate to the CPUC and the independent evaluator that the proposed wind project meets the reasonable price standard. PSCo plans to request approval of its application by November 2016, in order to commence the project timely and capture the full production tax credit benefit for customers. If approved by the CPUC, the new facility is projected to go into service in December 2018.

Xcel gave few details on the wind project in the earnings report. In a May 2 report filed with the CPUC, the utility said the 600-MW Rush Creek Wind Project will be located near Limon, Colorado, approximately 90 miles east of Denver. The company, a subsidiary of Xcel Energy(NYSE: XEL), said it is preparing to file an application requesting a Certificate of Public Convenience and Necessity for the Rush Creek Wind Farm.

The project will be using Vestas 2.0 V110 wind turbines. A total of 300 turbines will be sited in various locations covering Elbert, Lincoln, Kit Carson, and Cheyenne counties. The Rush Creek Wind Project’s electric generation will interconnect into the Missile Site Substation through an approximately 90-mile Rush Creek Gen-tie 345 kV transmission interconnection.

The project will provide 49 MW of system capacity and approximately 2,300 GWh annual emission free energy. The cost estimate to install the wind farm is $1.036 billion. It will be financed out of Public Service’s approved capital budget.

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.