Rush Creek Connect

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.

Construction update

Construction of the transmission line is expected to commence in June. The majority of the structures will be installed using direct embed foundations, which involves driving the structures into the ground.  A few of the structures will sit on top of concrete foundations.  The structure’s pieces are set into place using a crane. Landowners will be notified prior to work beginning on their land.

Xcel Energy identified the route for the new 83-mile 345 kV transmission line after consulting with local, state, and federal agencies, holding public open houses with a comment period, studying environmental and land use factors. Engineers identified eight alternative routes and after additional analysis, selected and submitted a preferred alternative to each County for review and approval. 

Transmission line construction timeline (subject to change)
  • Road access work: Beginning June 2017
  • Structure setting: Beginning June 2017
  • Conductor stringing: Anticipated to begin in late 2017 or early 2018
  • Transmission line estimated in-service date:  October 2018

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.

Settlement Agreement Reached

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.

Powering Benefits

The project will:

  • Create hundreds of jobs and bring more than $1 billion into the regional economy
  • Build 300 Vestas wind turbines at facilities in Brighton, Pueblo and Windsor
  • Provide the lowest-cost wind energy on our Colorado system
  • Deliver clean, renewable power
  • Eliminate one million tons of carbon each year
  • Support energy industry innovation in the state

Contact Us

Email us or call us at 800.274.6992

Additional Information