Colorado regulators approve Xcel's 600 MW Rush Creek wind settlement

Dive Brief:

  • The Colorado Public Utilities Commission has approved a settlement between Xcel Energy and more than a dozen other parties, clearing the way for development of the 600 MW Rush Creek Wind Project.
  • Expected online in late 2018, Rush Creek would be one of Colorado’s largest wind farms, constructed on two sites and utilizing a 90-mile, 345-kV transmission line to access Xcel's grid.
  • The project includes 300 turbines on approximately 116,000 acres. Construction is slated to begin next year.

Dive Insight:

Regulators hailed the settlement as a win for the state's renewable goals while also capping costs and sharing benefits with consumers.

PUC Chairman Joshua Epel said in a statement that the settlement "significantly increases renewable energy in the state, will be a driver of economic development in rural Colorado, and helps sustain the renewable energy supply chain that has matured in Colorado."

The agreement caps the cost of the project at about $1 billion, and provides for a sharing of cost savings between customers and the company if capital costs are less than the capped amount. The deal also allows Xcel to pursue an earlier construction schedule for the proposed Pawnee-Daniels Park Transmission Project to take advantage of federal tax credits and to accommodate the Rush Creek project interconnection.

Xcel has estimated Rush Creek Wind will pass on more than $400 million in savings by taking advantage of federal tax incentives for construction. 

“I am especially pleased that a high-voltage transmission line that provides access to energy resource zones is part of the settlement," Epel added. The settlement had broad support, including Xcel, PUC staff, the Office of Consumer Counsel and the Colorado Energy Office, environmental organizations and others.

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Filed Under: Solar & Renewables