Following a Sept. 30 verbal approval, the Colorado Public Utilities Commission on Oct. 20 issued the final written order approving Public Service Co. of Colorado for a Certificate of Public Convenience and Necessity (CPCN) for the 600-MW Rush Creek Wind generation facility.
The commission also granted a CPCN for the associated generation tie (Gen-Tie) line and an accelerated construction schedule for the Pawnee-to-Daniels Park transmission line.
On May 13, Xcel Energy’s (NYSE: XEL) Public Service unit had filed an application for approval of the 600-MW Rush Creek Wind Project, The project will include 300 Vestas model V110 wind turbines, which will be built in Colorado, each with a nameplate capacity of 2 MW. The project will comprise two wind farms (Rush Creek I and II) and a new 90-mile 345 kV Gen-Tie transmission line to interconnect with the company’s system at the Missile Site Substation. Public Service estimates that the total cost of the project will be $1.036 billion: $915 million is the projected construction costs of the wind generation facilities and $121.4 million is the cost of the Gen-Tie line.
Both phases of the Rush Creek Wind project are anticipated to be in service by Oct. 31, 2018. The Gen-Tie line will be complete by Aug. 31, 2018.
The full cost of the Gen-Tie line is included within the overall project economics. However, the transmission line will have additional capacity beyond that needed for the two proposed Rush Creek wind facilities and thus provides a transmission extension into eastern Colorado to meet future additional wind generation or other transmission needs.
Invenergy Wind Development North America LLC is developing the Rush Creek I and II sites. Public Service has entered into a Purchase and Sale Agreement for the sites, such that when they are “construction-ready” and meet other conditions precedent to closing, the utility will acquire a 100% equity stake in both. Public Service explained that the opportunity to partner with Invenergy enables the project to take advantage of the full benefits of the federal Production Tax Credit (PTC) for wind generation facilities.