Public Service Company of Colorado, an Xcel Energy company, proposes to construct the Rifle to Parachute Transmission Line project. The project consists of:
- An overhead single-circuit 230,000-volt (230-kV) electric transmission line
- Improvements to the existing Rifle and Parachute Substations
The proposed project is to construct a second overhead single-circuit 230-kV electric transmission line between our Rifle Substation and Parachute Substation. Although the final route for the new transmission line is not known at this time, the line will originate at the existing Rifle Substation located one mile south and one and one-half miles east of the Town of Rifle in the SE¼ of Section 14, T6S, R93W. The line will travel southwest for approximately 18 miles to the existing Parachute Substation located at the intersection of Highways 6 and 24 in the SW¼ of Section 6, T7S, R95W. The line will traverse private property as well as public lands owned and operated by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM).
The Colorado Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) requires a Certificate of Public Convenience and Necessity (CPCN) for construction and operation of an electric transmission line if the proposed project is out of the ordinary course of business for that utility. It is an application submitted by a utility to demonstrate that a proposed project would be a necessity and benefit the public. We submitted our CPCN application for this Project on Jan. 11, 2013, pursuant to Colorado Senate Bill 07-100 requirements and the CPUC found that the requested CPCN was in the public interest and granted approval of the application on Feb. 27, 2013.
Anticipated Project Schedule
The new line is needed to provide additional transmission capacity to serve the current and anticipated oil and gas production and exploration in the project area, including the Piceance Basin and surrounding area. One of the main equipment components of oil and gas development are compressors. Typically, oil and gas developers have a choice between using natural gas-driven compressors or electric-driven compressors. Strict environmental regulations (air quality, noise, etc.) and competitive pricing of electricity drive the choice towards electric-driven compressors, which lowers emissions for decreased environmental impact. The anticipated demand increase is approximately 50 megawatts by 2015. The new line will prevent contingency overloads of our existing Rifle to Parachute 230-kV line that could occur under high demand and high transfer level conditions.
The transmission system, as it exists today, does not have the capability to accommodate the additional oil and gas production and exploration anticipated in the future. Additional transmission facilities are required to deliver the electricity to the load centers where energy needs are the greatest. The existing 230-kV structures between our Rifle and Parachute Substations are single circuit capable. Rebuilding them to double circuit capable (to string the new line on one side) is not possible due to construction outage limitations, so the new line will be built in a new 150’ right-of-way.
The construction and operation of the project also will provide a reliable second source of power into central Garfield County communities, including the towns of Rifle and Parachute. It is imperative that uninterrupted electrical service to the area is available, for both safety and everyday activities.
If you would like to submit a comment about the project, please send it to Derek Holscher, his contact information is located at the bottom of this page.
All maps and drawings on this website are conceptual only. All supporting documents are provided for informational purposes only and are subject to change without notice.
The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) is writing an environmental assessment for the project. Send comments for this assessment to the BLM.
Senior Agent, Siting and Land Rights
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