Library filed under Transmission from Colorado
“The routes unnecessarily destroy wilderness-quality lands in Northwest Colorado and eastern Nevada, as well as greater sage grouse habitat. Readily available alternative routes could have minimized or eliminated these impacts by following highways and designated utility corridors.”
In a statement, Alex Daue, assistant director for energy and climate for the Wilderness Society, said the two newly approved routes “unnecessarily destroy wilderness-quality lands in northwest Colorado and eastern Nevada, as well as greater sage-grouse habitat. Readily available alternative routes could have minimized or eliminated these impacts by following highways and designated utility corridors.”
Laura Foye, a resident who received the letter from NextEra and another notification from the county, said she has spoken with Gil several times to try to better understand the project. “When it was first approved, it was going to bring in jobs and money,” she said. “Now, NextEra says that first route is going to be far too expensive for them; and, essentially, they just want to do something that’s less costly and less difficult.
A group of residents in Parker, starting in the Rowley Downs neighborhood, and Aurora have formed the group Halt the Power Lines, which opposes a transmission project that will take electricity overhead lines from the Daniels Park substation in Castle Pines, through northern Parker and through Aurora up to the Smoky Hills substation.
Xcel wants the utilities to pay for its costs associated with having supplies of reserve power ready to go in case the wind suddenly dies, said Terri Eaton, Xcel’s director of federal regulatory and compliance efforts. Currently, those costs are paid by Xcel’s business and residential customers, Eaton said.
In particular, brokers and developers asked whether Boulder has adequately accounted for the transmission costs of wind energy from far-flung parts of the state and whether Boulder won't essentially have to duplicate its efforts by developing natural gas capacity alongside less reliable wind energy.
Rather than see building more transmission as the solution, though, Bowman sees its drawbacks as a symptom of a bigger problem: a highly centralized power system. "I'm going to predict the day of very large transmission lines to carry energy from remote areas to urban centers are about over," he said. "What I do think you'll see happen is smaller projects that are built to accommodate the existing system you have in the rural electric districts and to move that power to the cities that way. I think there will be a different model."
It took a handful of loosely-affiliated residents just over a month to convince California-based Clipper Windpower to change plans for bringing that wind energy to Colorado Springs. This week, the company agreed to bury the high-voltage transmission lines through their area, at five times the cost
Managers with Xcel Energy and Tri-State aired their frustration Thursday about being forced to put the proposed Southern Colorado Transmission Line on a much slower track. The utilities this week announced an indefinite delay in the project due to Trinchera Ranch's ongoing opposition to allow a 14- to 18-mile stretch of the line to run over its property.
The judge overseeing the CPCN proceedings decided the PUC should consider additional testimony before making a decision. The additional testimony will focus on the impact of Colorado's recently passed Renewable Energy Standard (RES) that requires 30% of the state's energy to come from renewable sources by 2020 and encourages a shift toward pursuing distributed generation.
Administrative Law Judge Mana Jennings-Fader this week decided to reopen the Public Utilities Commission (PUC) hearing regarding the proposed transmission line into the San Luis Valley. Tri-State Generation and Public Service Company (an Xcel Energy company) have a request for a Certificate of Public Convenience and Necessity pending before the PUC. The certificate approval is required before the utility companies can move forward with the San Luis Valley-Calumet-Comanche Project (Southern Colorado Transmission Improvements Project) line.
Developers of a proposed power transmission line linking southeast Wyoming wind fields and the Colorado Front Range say they believe in the project and are forging slowly ahead, despite a Colorado utility's rejection of Wyoming wind. New Jersey-based LS Power and the Wyoming Infrastructure Authority are partnering to develop the 180-mile line between substations at Wheatland and Brush, Colo. It's one of six major transmission lines proposed by developers hoping to tap Wyoming's potential wind power resources.
A decision on whether to build a new transmission line from Pueblo to Walsenburg and on to the San Luis Valley won't come quickly. But the arguments between the utility companies proposing the line and their opponents have mushroomed as the state and federal government carry out separate reviews.
The Alamosa Board of County Commissioners endorsed a letter Wednesday urging the state's utility companies to support the development of more transmission lines in Southern Colorado. The letter, originally drafted by the southern district of Colorado Counties Inc., argues that more transmission to the region would increase access to Southern Colorado's wind and solar resources.
The red and white dotted line snaking 146 miles across a map of Colorado could be a path to a new energy economy or a scar on the state's spectacular landscape. That string of dots - a proposed new high-voltage transmission line into the San Luis Valley - also is pitting utilities, agricultural and business interests against an amalgam of community groups and landowners, from a goat herder to a billionaire hedge-fund manager. It is a battle that may be fought across Colorado, as the state needs $2 billion in new transmission lines to tap into wind and solar power, according to a state task force. And it is a clash running across the West.