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Cherokee Pipeline Project

Cherokee Pipeline Project

The pipeline will deliver natural gas so that we can retire coal-fired units

Overview

We are proposing to construct approximately 34 miles of new, 24” steel gas transmission pipeline from a new Ft. Lupton gas metering facility to the Cherokee Generating Station. Construction on the new natural gas pipeline would begin in 2013 with an anticipated in-service date of Oct. 1, 2014.

Xcel Energy is beginning to implement its Colorado Public Utilities Commission-approved Clean Air-Clean Jobs Plan by retiring three of our Cherokee Generating Station’s coal-fired units, adding a new natural gas plant, and switching a fourth unit to run on natural gas. A new pipeline is needed to deliver the natural gas to our Cherokee power plant for this conversion.

Cherokee Generating Station Repowering Project

Part of our implementation plan for Clean Air-Clean Jobs Act is the early retirement of 365 MW of coal-fired generation at our Cherokee Generating Station and replacing it with 921 MW of natural-gas generated electricity. We have retired Cherokee Unit 1 (May 2012) and Unit 2 (October 2011), and will retire Cherokee Unit 3 (by 2015). All three units operate on coal, and we will install a cleaner, more efficient natural gas plant (569 MW) at the plant site to replace this coal-fired generation We also will switch Cherokee Unit 4 from using coal to natural gas (352 MW).

Overall, we will increase Cherokee’s current generating capacity by 204 MW.

Here’s our anticipated project schedule:

  • Unit 2 (106 MW) was retired in October 2011
  • Unit 1 (107 MW) was retired in May 2012
  • Unit 1 (107 MW) and Unit 2 (106 MW) cooling towers' demolition started May 2012
  • Unit 1 (107 MW) and Unit 2 (106 MW) cooling towers' demolition complete June 2012
  • Unit 2 (107 MW) synchronous condenser in service June 1, 2012
  • Unit 2 (106 MW) baghouse demolition begins June 11, 2012
  • Unit 1 (107 MW) demolition starts October 2012
  • Unit 3 (152 MW) retired by 2015
  • New, 569 MW natural gas combined-cycle generating plant comes online in 2015
  • Unit 4 (352 MW) repowered to natural gas in 2017

On Feb. 22, 2012, the Adams County Board of County Commissioners approved, with conditions, the Areas and Activities of Statewide Interest and Conditional Use Permit Applications, allowing us to continue decommissioning equipment and facilities.

New pump equipment will be installed at the reservoir on the northwest corner of the plant property. This will allow the current make-up water ponds on the southwest corner of the plant property to be drained and then filled in August 2012.

The former pond site will house the new, 569 megawatt (MW) natural-gas combined-cycle power plant. This unit will replace the retired/retiring coal-fired Units 1, 2 and 3.

Demolition and construction activities at the generating station are expected to continue through 2017.

Route Maps

When considering possible routes for the natural gas pipeline these are some of the criteria and considerations we took into account:

  • Areas where we currently have rights of ways (ROW) or utilities easements exist. Using these areas also helps minimize risk of third-party damage to the pipeline.
  • High population areas
  • Wetlands and water use
  • Recreation areas, such as parks
  • Special status species
  • Additional environmental issues

Review our proposed and alternative routes by using the interactive map below. Or use the links to the below to download PDF maps of the proposed route by county or city.

Project Updates

October 22, 2012- The Adams County Board of County Commissioners, Brighton City Council, and Commerce City Council have voted to approve, with conditions, our land use permit applications for the Cherokee Natural Gas Pipeline Project. See the permitted route link below.

August 27, 2012- During the spring and summer of 2012, we submitted several land use permit applications to local jurisdictions impacted by our Cherokee Natural Gas Pipeline Project. The Adams County Board of County Commissioners, the Brighton City Council, Commerce City Planning Commission, and Commerce City Council held public hearings in  on our land use permit applications in September and October. 

During the permit application process, pipeline alignment changes occurred and revised route maps have been posted.  These revised routes were submitted as part of our Weld County USR permit application.

May 1, 2012- The Weld County Planning Commission approved, with conditions, our Use by Special Review (USR) permit application for the Cherokee Natural Gas Pipeline Project.  We had to seek a USR permit to build the pipeline in Weld County because "Uses by Special Review require additional consideration to ensure that the pipeline is established and operated in a manner that is compatible with existing and planned USES in the Neighborhood.  The additional consideration or regulation of Uses by Special Review, and the application to a Use by Special Review of Performance, Design and Operations Standards...are designed to protect and to promote the health, safety and convenience and general welfare of the present and future residents of the county." (Weld County Code, Chapter 23, Supp.17)

Information is now available on the dedicated project website for contractors interested in providing services for the Cherokee Natural Gas Pipeline Project. Contractors can formally submit pre-qualification materials by following directions on the Contractor Opportunities page.

Feb. 22, 2012 – The Adams County Board of County Commissioners approved, with conditions, the Areas and Activities of Statewide Interest and Conditional Use Permit Applications for the Cherokee Generating Station Repowering Project.

2011

Dec. 14, 2011 – Xcel Energy held a second round of open houses for the Cherokee Natural Gas Pipeline Project in December. We shared our revised proposed routes, provided an overall project update, answered your questions, and collected public feedback at meetings in Brighton, Commerce City and Fort Lupton. See the materials presented at the open houses. 

Oct. 24, 2011 – We submitted our land use permit application to Adams County for the Cherokee Generating Station Repowering portion of this project. As a requirement of the application process, we held a neighborhood meeting in Commerce City on Oct. 18, 2011. See the materials presented at the neighborhood meeting.

Sept. 29, 2011 – This fall, we anticipate conducting pre–application meetings with the planning departments of local jurisdictions and posting the revised routes. We plan to hold public open houses in late fall and anticipate submitting land–use permit applications in early 2012 to local governments.

Visit our schedule page for more information about the project.

July 1, 2011 – Xcel Energy hosted a second round of public open houses on Wednesday, June 29, and Thursday, June 30, 2011, in Commerce City and Brighton, respectively, to provide background information about the project, gather public feedback on our proposed and alternative routes, and answer questions and concerns.

June 8, 2011 – Xcel Energy hosted public open houses on Tuesday, June 7, 2011, in Fort Lupton and Commerce City to provide background information on the project, gather public feedback and answer questions and concerns.

Schedule

 

 

Fall 2012 - Adams County, Brighton, and Commerce City approve Cherokee Natural Gas Pipeline Land Use Permits

The Adams County Board of County Commissioners, Brighton City Council, and Commerce City Council voted to approve, with conditions, our land use permit applications for the Cherokee Natural Gas Pipeline Project. The land use permits allow us to construct our pipeline along the proposed route in Adams County, Brighton, and Commerce City.

May 1, 2012 - Cherokee Generating Station Unit 1 Retired

May 1, 2012 - The Weld County Planning Commission approved, with conditions, our Use by Special Review (USR) permit application for the Cherokee Natural Gas Pipeline Project.  The USR permit allows us to construct our pipeline in parts of the county that do not specifically designate utilities (such as natural gas pipelines) as allowable without land use approval.

May 2012 – Unit 1 (107 MW) and Unit 2 (106 MW) cooling towers’ demolition started

Spring 2012 - Begin Construction on Repowering Project

Winter/Spring 2012 - Pipeline Permitting and Engineering Continues

Feb. 22, 2012 - Adams County Approves Cherokee Station Land Use Permit Applications

The Adams County Board of Commissioners Adams County Board of County Commissioners voted to approve, with conditions, the Areas and Activities of Statewide Interest and Conditional Use Permit Applications for the Cherokee Generating Station Repowering Project. This allows us to continue decommissioning equipment and facilities on the site.
2011

December 2011 - Second Public Open Houses on Pipeline Project

Xcel Energy hosted four December open houses for the Pipeline Project in Brighton, Commerce City and Fort Lupton. See the materials presented at the open houses. See questions and answers from the open houses on the Public Outreach Materials page.

Oct. 24, 2011 - Adams County Land Use Permit Application Submitted

Xcel Energy submitted a land use permit application to Adams County for the Generating Station Repowering Project. Adams County reviews the application and initiates a public comment period for public and agency input. Public hearings are held to discuss the application.

Oct. 18, 2011 - Neighborhood Meeting for Generating Station Repowering Project

Xcel Energy held an October 18 neighborhood meeting in Commerce City to discuss its Generating Station Repowering Project.

See the materials presented at the neighborhood meeting.

Oct. 15, 2011 - Generating Station Unit 2 Retired

September 2011 – Permitting Process Begins

Xcel Energy planners work with counties and municipalities to meet requirements for permit applications. Xcel Energy began the process to obtain permits from Weld County, Adams County, and the cities of Brighton, and Commerce City.

Summer 2011 – Detailed Engineering Begins

Xcel Energy began working on engineering details and specifications of the natural gas pipeline.

July 2011 – Preliminary Engineering Nears Completion

Xcel Energy engineers worked on completing preliminary details and specifications of the natural gas pipeline.

June 2011 – First Public Open Houses on Pipeline Project

Xcel Energy held the first open houses on the pipeline project on June 7 in Fort Lupton and Commerce City, on June 29 in Commerce City, and on June 30 in Brighton.

See questions and answers from the open houses on the Public Outreach Materials page.

April 2011 – Aerial and Utility Survey Work Complete

Xcel Energy conducted aerial and utility survey work along proposed and alternative routes to gather information for environmental analysis.

March 2011 – Route Analysis

Xcel Energy engineers and planners used criteria to determine initial proposed and alternative routes.

2013 - Pipeline Construction Starts

2014 – Pipeline Testing

Xcel Energy conducts pipeline testing before pipeline is put into service.

October 1, 2014 - New Pipeline In Service

Pipeline delivers gas from new Fort Lupton gas metering facility to Generating Station.

For comments, questions and concerns contact:

info(at)xcelenergycherokeepipeline.com
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