VIDEO: Xcel Energy pursues wind power project in Colorado

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Xcel Energy will make a filing later this month with the Colorado Public Utilities Commission to add 600 MW of wind generation and associated transmission, representing a rate base investment of just over $1 billion, Xcel Chairman, President and CEO Ben Fowke said on May 9 during the company’s 1Q16 earnings call.

“In April, the commission confirmed our interpretation of a Colorado law that allows you to ” own 25[ percent] to 50 percent of incremental renewables without going through a competitive bid process, if the project is developed at a reasonable cost compared to similar renewable sources available in the market,” he said. “The levelized cost of this wind project, including transmission, is projected to be below any other existing wind PPAs in the [Public Service Company of Colorado (PSCo)] portfolio. We, therefore, believe we’ll be able to demonstrate to the commission and the independent evaluator that this project meets and exceeds the reasonable cost standard and represents tremendous value to our customers. We plan to request a commission decision by November, so that we can capture the full production tax credit benefit for our customers.”

As PennWell’s GenerationHub reported, Xcel gave few details on the wind power project in the earnings report. In a May 2 report filed with the PUC, the utility said the 600 MW Rush Creek Wind Project would be located near Limon, Colo., about 90 miles east of Denver.

The project’s electric generation would interconnect into the Missile Site substation through an about 90-mile Rush Creek Gen-tie 345-kV transmission interconnection.

The project would provide 49 MW of system capacity and about 2,300 GWh annual emission-free energy. The cost estimate to install the wind farm is $1.036 billion, and it will be financed out of PSCo’s approved capital budget, GenerationHub added.

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Corina Rivera-Linares, chief analyst for TransmissionHub, has covered the U.S. power industry for the past 10 years. Before joining TransmissionHub, Corina covered renewable energy and environmental issues, as well as transmission, generation, regulation, legislation and ISO/RTO matters at SNL Financial. She has also covered such topics as health, politics and education for weekly newspapers and national magazines. She can be reached at corinar@pennwell.com .

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