Proposed wind project in eastern Colorado to bolster local economy; deliver affordable energy to customers
DENVER – As another component of the “Our Energy Future” vision, Xcel Energy – the leading utility provider of wind energy in the nation -- will seek to build, own and operate in eastern Colorado what would be one the state’s most-cost effective wind projects, according to a filing made today with the Colorado Public Utilities Commission (CPUC).
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.
“We know our Colorado customers and communities want affordable energy from increasingly clean energy sources, and it is our goal is to provide what they value. The Rush Creek Wind Project would be one of the largest wind projects in Colorado, with the lowest-cost energy on our Colorado system,” said David Eves, president, Xcel Energy-Colorado. “Integration of this new wind power also will eliminate approximately one million tons of carbon each year.”
Invenergy, with a regional development office in Littleton, Colo., has successfully developed renewable projects in Colorado and would act as the project’s lead developer. Vestas, one of the world’s leading wind turbine manufacturers, will produce all of the wind turbines at its Colorado-based manufacturing plants in Brighton, Pueblo and Windsor, Colo., where the company employs approximately 3,600 people.
“We are excited to partner with Xcel Energy on this important project that will support the local economy with meaningful jobs and provide renewable energy to Colorado consumers,” said Mick Baird, Invenergy’s vice president of Business Development for the Western Region. “Invenergy applauds both Xcel Energy and the State of Colorado on their renewable energy leadership.”
In early statements at an April 2016 event in Brighton, Colo., announcing the American Wind Energy Association’s 2015 Market Release, Chris Brown, president of Vestas Americas, confirmed that, if the project was approved, “it’s great news. We appreciate it and we’re honored. It’s nice to build for the state you’re in.”
As noted, the Rush Creek Wind Project must be approved by state regulators and granted land use permits by each county. 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 eastern Colorado, including approximately 350 jobs during construction and a $1 billion injection into the region’s economy.
Xcel Energy customers also will benefit from the project. By taking advantage of federal tax incentives known as Production Tax Credits (PTCs) for construction, Xcel Energy can reduce capital costs and directly pass these savings along to its Colorado customers, saving residents and businesses more than $400 million on a net present value basis over the 25-year life of the project.
According to the Leeds School of Business at the University of Colorado, Boulder, the proposed wind facility will result in more than 7,000 job years in Colorado, over a 25-year period. According to the study, the wind facility also will result in lower spending on electric generation fuel, and operation and maintenance costs, resulting in lower electricity rates.
The project also is a key component of the “Our Energy Future” vision for the state. As noted in January 2016, Xcel Energy will propose to add up to 1,000 megawatts of additional renewable resources, including the wind project noted today, in a filing to be made with state regulators later this month.
In its filing today, Xcel Energy seeks three items from the CPUC: approval of the company’s application to acquire the Rush Creek Wind Project; a Certificate of Public Convenience and Necessity (CPCN) for the wind project and associated transmission facilities; and approval to seek cost recovery.
About Xcel Energy
Xcel Energy (NYSE: XEL) is a major U.S. electricity and natural gas company with regulated operations in eight Western and Midwestern states. Xcel Energy provides a comprehensive portfolio of energy-related products and services to 3.5 million electricity customers and 1.9 million natural gas customers through its regulated operating companies. Company headquarters are located in Minneapolis. More information is available at www.xcelenergy.com.
Invenergy is delivering innovation in energy. Invenergy and its affiliated companies develop, own, and operate large-scale renewable and other clean energy generation and storage facilities in the Americas, and Europe. Invenergy's home office is located in Chicago and it has regional development offices in the United States, Canada, Mexico, Japan and Europe. Invenergy and its affiliated companies have developed more than 13,719 MW of projects that are in operation, construction or advanced development, including wind, solar, natural gas-fueled power generation and energy storage projects. For more information, please visit www.invenergyllc.com.
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