Rush Creek Connect

Voltage: 345 kV line

Estimated length: 83 miles

Estimated cost: $120 million

Targeted in-service: October 2018

Construction is underway on the Rush Creek 600 megawatt (MW) wind farm, 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. View project update.

Construction update

All transmission structures have been erected on the 43-mile segment between the new Pronghorn Substation and Missile Sit Substation. Structures on the 40-mile Pronghorn Substation to Rush Creek II Substation are expected to be completed in March 2018. The majority of the structures will be installed using direct embed foundations, which involves drilling a hole, inserting a structure and backfilling. A few of the structures will sit on concrete foundations. The structure's pieces are set into place using a crane. Foundation construction was completed on the project in February 2018. Landowners will be notified prior to work beginning on their land.

A helicopter is being used to help string conductor (wire) between structures on the Pronghorn Substation to Missile Site Substation segment. Using helicopters to perform line work enables conductor to be installed in difficult-to-access areas, and helps protect sensitive environmental areas, such as wetlands. The wite installed is called 'lead line', which is then connected to the conductor and pulled through with ground-based machinery. We urge motorists to avoid stopping and watching the work while it occurs, and to keep moving through the work zone. A helicopter will not be used on the Pronghorn Substation to Rush Creek II substation segment.

Transmission line construction timeline (subject to change)
  • Foundation construction: Completed in February 2018
  • Structure setting: Anticipated completion, March 2018
  • Conductor stringing: Began January 2018
  • Transmission line estimated in-service date: July 2018

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 alighment of the transmission line was determined through a separate local government siting and permitting process that included land use permits from Arapahoe, Elbert, and Lincoln Counties.

Xcel Energy and multiple parties agreed to a settlement on September 2, 2016 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. The CPUC issued its written approval on October 20, 2016. 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 energy
  • 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

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