DENVER, Colorado (September 6, 2016) – Xcel Energy and multiple parties have agreed to a settlement that would allow for Xcel Energy to build, own and operate what would be one of the largest wind farms in Colorado, and the most cost-effective in state history.
In filings made Friday with the Colorado Public Utilities Commission (CPUC), Xcel Energy and parties also agreed to allow the utility to pursue an earlier construction schedule for the proposed Pawnee-Daniel Park Transmission Project. If approved, the transmission project would go into service in October 2019, several years ahead of what was originally approved.
“We believe the settlement announced today, if approved, is a no regrets step towards more renewable energy for Xcel Energy customers and the state of Colorado,” said David Eves, president, Xcel Energy – Colorado. “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.”
The settlement must be approved by the CPUC. Multiple parties joined the settlement covering a variety of areas of interest, including customers of various sizes, state agencies, other renewable developers, and environmental organizations.
The parties to the settlement include: the Trial Staff of the Colorado Public Utilities Commission; the Colorado Office of Consumer Counsel; the Colorado Energy Office; Tri-State Generation and Transmission Association, Inc.; CF&I Steel, L.P./Evraz; Interwest Energy Alliance; Colorado Energy Consumers; Southwest Generation Operating Company, LLC; Western Resource Advocates; Rocky Mountain Environmental Labor Coalition and Colorado Building Construction Trades Council, AFL-CIO; the Colorado Independent Energy Association; the City of Boulder; and the City and County of Denver.
Eves noted that both the Rush Creek Wind Project and the Pawnee-Daniels Park Transmission Project are key components of the “Our Energy Future” vision for Colorado. They will help Xcel Energy embrace technology, provide further customer options and choice, and power the state’s economy.
The Rush Creek Wind Project proposal includes 600 megawatts of new wind power and a corresponding 345-kilovolt transmission line (approximately 90 miles), to be built in parts of Arapahoe, Cheyenne, Elbert, Kit Carson and Lincoln counties. If approved by the CPUC and the counties, the project is expected to begin construction in late 2017, with anticipated commercial operations set for late 2018.
The Rush Creek Wind Project is expected to create substantial employment and economic development opportunities in Colorado, including approximately 350 jobs during construction and a $1 billion injection into the region’s economy. And, by taking advantage of federal tax incentives for construction, Xcel Energy can reduce capital costs and directly pass more than $400 million in savings on a net present value basis over the 25-year life of the project.
The proposed Pawnee-Daniels Park Transmission Project consists of a new, double-circuit 345-kilovolt transmission line between Xcel Energy’s Pawnee Substation near Brush, Colo., and the Daniels Park Substation south of the Denver metro-area. The project area includes Arapahoe and Douglas counties, City of Aurora and Town of Parker.
The 125-mile project is a critical component of the Colorado long-range transmission plan. The project will allow for the interconnection and delivery of new generation resources – including renewable energy – to Front Range customers, to meet increased customer demand for electricity and to improve system reliability.
The Colorado Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) approved a Certificate of Public Convenience and Necessity application for the project in April 2015. Advancing the in-service date of the project will help ensure that customers reap federal tax credit benefits, which significantly reduce the cost of wind generation.
About Xcel Energy
Xcel Energy (NYSE: XEL) provides the energy that powers millions of homes and businesses across eight Western and Midwestern states. Headquartered in Minneapolis, the company is an industry leader in responsibly reducing carbon emissions and producing and delivering clean energy solutions from a variety of renewable sources at competitive prices. For more information, visit xcelenergy.com or follow us on Twitter and Facebook.
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