Xcel Energy Inc.’s proposal for a massive, $1.1 billion 600-megawatt Rush Creek wind farm and 90-mile transmission line in eastern Colorado was approved Friday by the Colorado Public Utilities Commission.
The three commissions on Friday verbally approved a settlement Xcel (NYSE: XEL) announced in early September in support of the Rush Creek wind farm and power line as well as for another major transmission line. The wind farm will generate enough power to meet the needs of about 180,000 homes in Colorado.
PUC Chairman Joshua Epel on Friday said he was pleased by the settlement’s broad support “that significantly increases renewable energy in the state, will be a driver of economic development in rural Colorado and helps sustain the renewable energy supply chain that has matured in Colorado, to support renewable energy in the state and a project that will be an economic driver in Colorado.”
The commissioners didn’t make any changes to the settlement and wholly rejected a list of concerns raised by the Ratepayers Coalition over the project, including whether it was good for taxpayers, whether Xcel was rushing the project through the process and environmental concerns.
The conservative Independence Institute in July had called for more time to evaluate the project’s economics and environmental impacts.
David Eves, the president of Xcel’s Colorado operations, told the Denver Business Journal he also was pleased with the commissioners’ decision. Xcel will develop, own and operate the wind farm.
“This is a great project for Colorado, the environment and our customers. This is a big day for what will be the state’s biggest wind farm,” Eves said.
Xcel has contracted with Vestas Wind Systems, the Danish wind turbine company with four manufacturing plants in Colorado building towers, blades and nacelles, to supply the turbines the Rush Creek wind farm will need. The two companies have an agreement for Vestas to supply up to 300 of its V110-2.0 MW wind turbine model for the Rush Creek project.
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