General and Colorado
On remote land near New Castle, wind turbines spin, helping power a plant that produces ethanol, perhaps also with the help of electricity from solar panels. The plant also could tap methane from the coal-rich Grand Hogback and convert it to ethanol.
In addition, the plant would make ethanol from biodegradable materials at area landfills, from solid waste from municipalities and septic service companies, and from switchgrass grown by local ranchers.
The windmills even could be used to pump water into a nearby reservoir, essentially storing energy that could be tapped through hydroelectric turbines when the water later is released downstream.
These are among some ideas being floated by a mix of local investors and out-of-state companies seeking to capitalize on a growing demand for alternative sources of energy.
So you plant your feet in the gritty soil beneath the whirring monsters that seem to brush the blue sky and you feel the hot wind dancing from the south and for a long time you just stare. This is wind energy. And one day, many scientists believe, it will drive the world. Of course, not everyone has that sense of awe over the whole thing. Take rancher Bob Emick. Inside his home, which sits smack in the middle of 98 of the science fiction-looking turbines...He leans on one elbow, glances out a window and watches a rotor spin. "I guess," he said, "you just get used to them."
The view brought mixed emotions to the Riters.
"To be honest, I was shocked when I first saw them," said 66-year-old Karl Riters, who enjoys hiking, backpacking and volunteering with the Poudre Wilderness Volunteers. "I saw them from maybe eight miles away and I started hoping that as I got closer they wouldn't be that apparent. But the closer we got, the worse it looked. I'm all for reducing carbon emissions, but when out in a desolate area like this, you don't want to see that."
Lori Bell, the grasslands' acting district manager, said she has received numerous complaints about the turbines. She said there is nothing the U.S. Forest Service can do because the wind farm is on private land.
People around the country accused Denver on Monday of embracing a "crackpot" scheme to fight global warming after the city's plan drew widespread attention on the Internet.
The reaction was to a Rocky Mountain News story that detailed some of the proposals in Denver's Climate Action Plan, which aims to cut the city's output of gas emissions linked to global warming.
The plan includes several controversial ideas, including making residents who use large amounts of electricity and natural gas pay higher utility fees, boosting insurance rates for people who drive long distances and mandating that homes be energy efficient before they can be sold.
Four months after saying his "New Energy Economy" was more than a campaign promise, Gov. Bill Ritter will sign a half-dozen measures this week encouraging Coloradans to make more renewable energy and consume less fuel overall.
On Tuesday, Ritter signed a bill that rewards utilities for promoting energy conservation. It was vetoed twice by his predecessor, GOP Gov. Bill Owens.
Today, Ritter plans to sign measures to promote recycling and biofuels development, encourage construction of transmission lines from solar and wind farms and provide tax credits for renewable energy.
LOGAN COUNTY - This county will have more tax revenue - about $2.3 million each year - after the Peetz Table Wind Energy Center is completed and placed on the tax rolls. The assessed valuation of the $700 million project will increase revenues for Logan County and also for the Peetz Plateau School District.
To put it in perspective, the $2.3 million the county will receive equals an 8.8 percent addition to its current annual budget of $26 million. Over the next 30 years, this will total about $70 million.
In addition, FPL is paying Logan County a one-time payment of $4.16 million in lieu of building permit fees and use taxes.
"We haven't had a decent wheat crop in six years," said Gordon Vallier, who lives in northwest Logan County. He explained that there's hardly any grass left, so he had to sell all his cattle last fall.
"This is the first time since my grandfather started the farm that we haven't had cattle," Vallier said.
There is a bit of good news in Vallier's story, however, and it has to do with the wind.
STERLING — Peetz Table Wind Energy, LLC, was successful in getting several agenda items passed during Tuesday’s Logan County Commissioners meeting, including a Conditional Use Permit for 99 years to expand their wind farm holdings by adding another 134 wind turbines, and approval of a Development Agreement between Logan County and Peetz Table Wind Energy, LLC, laying out regulations for both parties to follow for the duration of the agreement.
VAIL - Buying wind credits gives peace of mind to us environmental sinners in the High Country, but are they worth much else?
There's been some serious back-patting going on ever since Vail Resorts and the area towns like Frisco and Vail decided to offset 100 percent of their electricity use with clean, emission-free power produced by wind farmers. It's the first thing you see on the Vail Resorts website and has made some towns leaders in this rapidly growing trend of "neutralizing" environmental impacts by investing in renewable energy.
Some people, though, question the world-saving value of purchasing wind offsets, fearing they're being used in lieu of actually decreasing energy use or fearing the offsets themselves are shady buys. They are certainly in vogue in the Fortune 500 world, but how much do they help the environment beyond clearing your conscience?
DENVER - A bill that won preliminary approval in the Senate Thursday, which creates a new authority for financing construction of transmission lines to carry renewable energy, is very different from the one Republican Rep. Cory Gardner of Yuma introduced and passed through the House early in February.
FORT COLLINS, Colo. (AP) -- Those old blue northers that can blow you over or spill your coffee cup will be turned to profit within a decade.
Within eight years, Colorado State University plans to get all its electric power from its own wind farm at a cost of $100 million to $300 million.
The CSU Green Power Project will build a wind farm in northern Colorado that generates more power than the school consumes. It also will include a laboratory for studies on wind power. The area has long been a national wind resource.
The university's nonprofit research foundation made a deal with Wind Holding LLC to build the farm on the university's 11,000-acre Maxwell Ranch near the Wyoming border, a very windy area.
Colorado State University said Thursday it plans to develop a wind farm in northern Colorado that would be the largest university-owned wind facility in the world.
The project would generate more than enough electricity to power CSU's entire Fort Collins campus. Excess-power sales would generate an estimated $30 million to the university over the next 25 years.
The venture is proposed for the 11,000-acre Maxwell Ranch, a property owned by the university near the Wyoming border, and will cost $100 million to $300 million.
Gov. Bill Ritter signed a bill into law Tuesday that requires Colorado utilities to get more electricity from the sun, wind, or plant and animal waste.
House Bill 1281 sailed smoothly through the state legislature, clearing the House and Senate, both with Democratic majorities, in about five weeks before landing on Ritter's desk last month.
DENVER - Over two years after voters required that utilities get 10 percent of their power from renewable sources, Colorado is poised to double that requirement.
The House and Senate gave final approval Friday to a measure (House Bill 1281) that would require large utilities like Xcel Energy and Aquila to get at least 20 percent of their electricity from renewable sources like wind and the sun by 2020. Rural electric cooperatives and all but the smallest municipal utilities would have to get to 10 percent by then.
Gov. Bill Ritter said he would sign the bill, which he called the centerpiece of his renewable energy agenda. He said it will help stimulate the economies of the Eastern Plains and the San Luis Valley where there is so much wind, sun and farmland.
STERLING — The County Commission unanimously approved Tuesday a 99-year conditional use permit for Peetz Table Wind Energy, LLC, to construct a generating facility; but at least one person was not that happy about it.
“My concern is making sure we preserve the beauty of the canyons,” said Allen Ramey during the public comment portion of the commissioner’s hearing.
“To some people they’re ugly and some people love them,” said Jack McLavey, commission chairman, in response to Ramey’s comment.
“The primary concern is renewable energy, and at some point we have to move away from fossil fuels.” He added that wind energy is environmentally clean.
The exchange ended there, but after the hearing Ramey was not completely satisfied with McLavey’s response.
Two power suppliers wanting to construct 1,000 miles of high-voltage transmission lines and new substations in Colorado and Kansas are refining the routes for the project, officials said last week.
Tri-State Generation and Transmission Association and the Western Area Power Administration are teaming on the Eastern Plains Transmission Project, which will cost anywhere from $8 million to $1 billion.
Randy Wilkerson, a public affairs specialist for Western, said that based on comments from the public during meetings held in September in the affected areas, proposed and alternative routes for the lines have been changed.
“We have changed the routes somewhat - we have also began doing some analysis on those routes, looking at them based on 47 different criteria,” Wilkerson said.
Wilkerson said among the standards are engineering characteristics, which includes cost and how many miles of line, and land use issues.
“All those things have been analyzed. The land-use portion analyzes whether the lines are going through rangeland (or) irrigated crop land and how many residences it’s going by,” Wilkerson said.
“We are trying to find a route that has the least impact overall.”
Two local Republican lawmakers are worried that a Democratic senator is planning to hijack their measure to help bring high-voltage transmission lines to rural Colorado.
And even if Sen. Chris Romer, D-Denver, isn’t trying to make HB1150 his own, Sen. Ken Kester and Rep. Cory Gardner said they are afraid the freshman senator, and son of former Gov. Roy Romer, will lead an effort to kill their measure or amend it beyond recognition.
Currently, the measure would create a new authority with bonding powers to help renewable energy companies build the transmission lines they need to get that electricity to the state’s power grid.
Legislation designed to encourage future wind farms in Colorado breezed through a state Senate committee Wednesday with backing from the state’s largest utility, Xcel Energy.
The bill would ease the financial burden of building new transmission lines for some utilities by making customers pay construction costs more quickly.
Backers say new power lines would encourage the development of more wind farms and other alternative-energy projects.
Bill would require more green energy
January 19, 2007
in Durango Herald
Democrats rolled out their long-awaited renewable-energy bills Wednesday, setting up a potential fight with rural electricity providers.
With the backing of a friendly governor, legislators put forward an aggressive set of bills that includes requiring 20 percent of Colorado’s electricity to come from renewable sources, such as wind and solar, by 2020.
Permitting for the 550-megawatt gas-fired plant southeast of Fountain is underway, and officials with Invenergy, the company that wants to build the plant, hope construction begins in May with completion in 2009. The company will meet with environmentalists on Wednesday to discuss the plant.
The Squirrel Creek Power plant would be able to augment energy from wind generation plants in eastern Colorado, said Doug Carter, vice president of development for Invenergy.
“Once you get a plant like this, you can bring in more wind power,” Carter said. “When the wind is blowing, you can back the plant down. When it’s not, you can fire it up.”