Power generators, distributors and others in the electrical power chain will be asked to bid for shipping rights on a new Wyoming-to-Colorado power line.
Developers of the “Wyoming-Colorado Intertie” project will hold an open-season auction in June, hoping to collect commitments for up to 900 megawatts of transmission from eastern Wyoming to the Colorado Front Range.
Wyoming wind is expected to make up a significant portion of the power committed to the line, according to officials. If the June auction is successful, the line could be built and put into operation by mid-2013.
Steve Waddington, executive director of the Wyoming Infrastructure Authority, said there’s a demand in Colorado for Wyoming’s renewable wind resource.
In a prepared statement, Colorado Gov. Bill Ritter said the power line is a step toward a more secure environment and economy in the two states.
“This project embodies a regional, collaborative approach that will strengthen the new energy economy in Colorado as well as in Wyoming,” Ritter said. “When this line is energized it will enhance the reliability and affordability of wind power for Colorado consumers and at the same time help enhance Wyoming’s renewable energy business.”
The project is the culmination of a public/private partnership among the Wyoming Infrastructure Authority, the Western Area Power Administration and independent transmission company Trans-Elect.
For years, industry officials identified the TOT-3 connection between Wyoming and Colorado as a serious bottleneck in the electrical grid that easily justified an expansion. But pairing up electrical generation on one end of the line with distributors and customers on the other end requires much coordination.
Developers say it’s synonymous to creating the chicken and the egg at the same time.
“You have to have the generation and transmission, and you have to have the economics in place as well,” said Randy Wilkerson, spokesman for the Western Area Power Administration.
Energy reporter Dustin Bleizeffer can be reached at (307) 577-6069 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Last we knew: Colorado, Wyoming and industry officials studied the viability of expanding electrical transmission between eastern Wyoming and the Colorado Front Range.
The latest: The 900-megawatt “Wyoming-Colorado Intertie” project will go to open season for binding contracts in June.
What’s next: If successful, the line could be built and energized by mid-2013.
By Dustin Bleizeffer
Star-Tribune energy reporter
1 April 2008
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