New Projects, Wind

Xcel Energy Gets Go-Ahead for Huge Wind Project

By Editors of Power Engineering

Xcel Energy was granted final approval for development of a 600-MW wind farm on the eastern plans of Colorado.

The Rush Creek Wind Project, with two generation sites and a 90-mile high-voltage transmission line tying into Xcel’s electric system, would be one of Colorado’s largest wind farms.

Plans for Rush Creek include 300 turbines on 116,000 acres in Elbert, Lincoln, Kit Carson and Cheyenne counties. Construction will begin in 2017 with operations slated for late 2018.

Construction costs have been capped at $1.096 billion.

The plans were approved late last week by the Colorado Public Utilities Commission. In a release, the agency noted the project satisfied the reasonable cost standard in Colorado state law that allows utility ownership of up to 25 percent of the total new renewable energy resources acquired after March 27, 2007.

“I’m very pleased that almost 20 parties could join together and support a comprehensive settlement that significantly increases renewable energy in the state, will be a drive of economic development in rural Colorado and helps sustain the renewable energy supply chain that has matured in Colorado,” said Joshua Epel, chairman of the PUC. “I am especially pleased that a high-voltage transmission line that provides access to energy resource zones is part of the settlement.”

The agreement 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.

Last week, Xcel announced it plans to boost its wind power capacity by 60 percent.