Xcel Energy reaches settlement on 600 MW Colorado wind farm
- Xcel Energy, trial staff of the Colorado Public Utilities Commission and about a dozen other parties have reached a settlement allowing the utility to move ahead with development of the 600-MW Rush Creek Wind Project, expected to be completed in 2018.
- The settlement also covers development of the Pawnee-Daniel Park Transmission Project; if the deal is approved, that line would go into service in October 2019, years ahead of what was originally approved by state regulators.
- The Colorado PUC approved the transmission line last year, but Xcel said that moving up the in-service date will allow customers to take advantage of federal tax credits which well help reduce the cost of wind generation.
Rush Creek would be one of the largest wind farms constructed in Colorado, but perhaps more importantly the project's backers say it would be "the most cost-effective in state history." Xcel said Rush Creek Wind will pass on more than $400 million in savings by taking advantage of federal tax incentives for construction.
“Rush Creek will provide low-cost energy to our customers, and it adds a clean, renewable generation resource to the state that will help us meet potential federal and state air quality mandates," David Eves, president of Xcel Energy's Colorado operations, said in a statement.
In addition to the utility and commission staff, parties to the settlement include: the Colorado Office of Consumer Counsel, the Colorado Energy Office, the cities of Boulder and Denver, labor interests and large customers.
Xcel proposed the wind farm to the Colorado PUC in May, asking regulators to approve the $1 billion project and an accompanying 90 mile, 345 kV transmission line. The settlement must still be approved by the PUC, which would allow construction to begin next year.
The Pawnee-Daniels Park Transmission Project would run between Xcel Energy’s Pawnee Substation near Brush, Colo., and the Daniels Park Substation south of the Denver metro-area. According to the utility, the 125-mile project is "a critical component of the Colorado long-range transmission plan."
Follow Robert Walton on Twitter