Xcel Energy wants to build a $1 billion wind farm that spans 90,000 acres in Arapahoe, Cheyenne, Elbert, Kit Carson and Lincoln counties.
Colorado’s largest electric provider on Friday filed documents with the Public Utilities Commission for the Rush Creek Wind Project, which would use 300 2-megawatt turbines to generate enough energy to power about 180,000 homes.
If the PUC approves, construction would begin in late 2017 and the the wind farm would be in service by late 2018, Xcel spokesman Mark Stutz said.
The filing made Friday provides details of the project that Xcel and Vestas Americas announced in April during an American Wind Energy Association meeting.
Stutz said Friday that the project likely would create 350 construction jobs, and then six to 10 permanent jobs.
Rush Creek would be one of Colorado’s largest wind projects, producing 600 megawatts of electricity.
Although Xcel will own Rush Creek, Invenergy, which has a regional office in Littleton, has been hired as lead developer, responsible for securing private land leases, getting approvals from the five counties and building the wind farm. A 90-mile, 345 kilovolt transmission line also will be constructed.
Turbines are to be manufactured by Vestas, which has manufacturing plants in Brighton, Pueblo and Windsor.
Stutz said the project is driven by economics. Xcel has already met its state mandated clean energy goal of producing 30 percent of the electricity it sells from renewable sources.
“What that mandate also says is that if you can continue to add renewables at a rate that is economically beneficial, you can go above that minimum,” he said. “We are in that phase, adding renewable sources based on economics and not necessarily on meeting standards.”
Xcel said in a news release that the company will take advantage of federal production tax credits for the construction, which will result in about $400 million in savings.
The filing Friday seeks PUC approval to acquire Rush Creek, a certificate of public convenience and necessity for the project and the transmission line, as well as the OK to pass on construction and maintenance costs to Xcel’s rate payers.
The project is a key element of Xcel’s “Our Energy Future” vision for Colorado. The company plans to add an additional 400 megawatts of renewable energy, which will be detailed in a filing to state regulators later this month.
Xcel Energy-Colorado president David Eves said the project will eliminate about 1 million tons of carbon pollution each year.
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