Voltage: 345 kV line
Estimated length: 83 miles
Estimated cost: $120 million
Targeted in-service: October 2018
Xcel Energy has received final approval to build, own, and operate 600 megawatts (MW) of new wind generation, an approximately 83-mile 345 kilovolt (kV) transmission line, and two new substations in eastern Colorado. The 345 kV transmission line will connect the wind farm to our existing Missile Site Substation in Arapahoe County. The wind farm will cover 95,000 acres in Elbert, Lincoln, Kit Carson and Cheyenne Counties. The new transmission line will have a 150-foot wide right-of-way. The transmission line route passes through Lincoln, Elbert, and Arapahoe Counties.
A preferred route has been submitted and approved by Lincoln, Elbert and Arapahoe Counties, as a result of the local planning and siting process. View approved route (PDF). The transmission planning process began with identification of the project area, namely the area around each proposed wind farm and the existing Missile Site Substation. One mile wide study corridors between the Rush Creek II and Rush Creek I wind farms and the Rush Creek I wind farm and the Missile Site Substation were identified. The process included consultation with local, state, and federal agencies, public open house meetings with a comment period, as well as study and analysis of environmental and land use factors. Segments were identified within the one-mile wide study corridors and end-to-end routes were compiled and studied for opportunities and constraints. Eight end-to-end alternative routes were identified and after additional analysis the Preferred Alternative was selected and submitted to each County for review. Public meetings on potential route alternatives were held in May and June 2016.
Transmission line timeline
Engineering design: Through April 2017
Construction: June 2017-September 2018
Transmission line estimated in-service date: October 2018
We filed with the Colorado Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) on May 13, 2016 a request for two Certificates of Public Convenience and Necessity (CPCNs) to: (1) construct and operate the Rush Creek wind generation facilities and (2) construct and operate the 345 kV generation intertie to connect the wind generation facilities to the electric grid. View the application and testimony here (scroll down to filing documents). You can review all filings on the project on the CPUC website (external link) and enter 16A-0117E in the ‘Proceeding Number’ field. The CPCN process does not decide the final route of the transmission line. The final location and alignment of the transmission line was determined through a separate local government siting and permitting process that includes land use permits from Arapahoe, Elbert, and Lincoln Counties.
On September 2, Xcel Energy and multiple parties agreed to a settlement that would approve the CPCNs and allow for Xcel Energy to move forward with the Rush Creek project. The CPUC held a public hearing on the settlement agreement on September 9, 2016. The settlement agreement was approved by the CPUC on September 30, 2016. On October 20, 2016 the CPUC issued its written approval. View the Settlement Agreement. View the Attachment. View CPUC press release. Construction on the project is planned to begin in 2017. The proposed in-service date for the Rush Creek project is October 2018.
The wind project is expected to save our customers hundreds of millions of dollars in energy costs over the next 25 years. With the wind farm and transmission facilities, we will invest an estimated $1 billion into the state’s economy including the purchase of 300 Vestas wind turbines which will be manufactured in Brighton, Pueblo, and Windsor, Colo. The wind farm will provide millions of dollars in sales and property taxes to local and state government and $3 million to $7.5 million in annual landowner wind payments. At the peak of construction, the wind farm and transmission project will employ about 350 construction workers.