Articles from Colorado
"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.
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.”
BP’s year-old wind power business plans to launch a host of new projects by year’s end, showing how a major oil company can quickly move into the ranks of major wind companies. Power output from the individual projects, which the company will announce today, tends to be somewhat smaller than typical plants fired by natural gas or coal. But it’s another sign of the growing enthusiasm for renewable power. “This is a profitable business for us today,” said Bob Lukefahr, president of Houston-based BP Alternative Energy North America. “Finding resources and bringing them to market on a large scale is a core function of BP, so over time these will become even bigger projects.”
BP Alternative Energy North America Inc. expects to begin construction on five U.S. wind power generation projects in 2007 across four states, including Texas. The projects — also located in California, Colorado and North Dakota — are expected to deliver a combined generation capacity of 550 megawatts.
Xcel Energy is ahead of schedule with construction of its wind projects, but the utility backed off several others because it can’t get the power to customers’ homes. The reason: a shortage of transmission lines.
So why is this higher mandate likely to hike your bills? Because when government creates an artificial market by fiat, shortages almost always follow (of turbines for wind power, for example), thus boosting the mandate’s cost. For that matter, if all forms of renewable energy could compete on their own, they wouldn’t need a mandate in the first place.
The winds of change are a-blowing in northern Logan County, and residents want change done right. The Logan County Commissioners met over an extensive agenda Tuesday morning, mostly addressing expansion and upgrading of wind energy projects near Peetz. The major concern in the meeting was placement of a 230 kW transmission line, and its proximity to residences in the area.
The report concludes with a dismissive quote from Douglas Lloyd, of Venture Business Research: “There’s too much money chasing too few opportunities. How is it possible that this many solar companies are going to succeed? They’re not.”