Thornton Substation Project

The Thornton Substation Project

After more than 10 years of planning and community input, construction on the Thornton Substation will begin in 2018. Plans call for it to be tested and placed in service by mid-2019.

As construction begins, Xcel Energy wants to keep everyone in the area informed. Please call the project hotline at 844.551.6281 or email with any questions or concerns.

Project Purpose

The City of Thornton has doubled in population over the past decade, with new shopping centers, the construction of the RTD North Metro Rail Line (N Line), and business and residential growth. To support this growing community and increased demand for electricity, Xcel Energy will build the first substation in Thornton since 1992. The new substation will provide improved system flexibility and stability, benefiting the whole Thornton community, and fuel the local economy by providing a reliable source of electric power for developers and businesses.

Project History

The need for a Thornton substation was identified in 2008, to serve homes and businesses that had been experiencing low voltage and capacity issues for many years.

Xcel Energy engineers evaluated more than 40 sites before choosing this particular location. After dozens of meetings with members of the community, the land development permits for the site at East 119th Avenue and Holly Street were approved by Thornton City Council. It offered the greatest distance between homes and the substation equipment, and provided an opportunity to integrate the substation into future development, adjacent to a parcel zoned for commercial use along East 120th Avenue.

Xcel Energy’s application for a Certificate of Public Convenience and Necessity (CPCN) was granted by the Colorado Public Utilities Commission in April 2015. Thornton City Council approved the substation location and design in July 2017, and the Adams County Planning Commission approved the transition structures in August 2017.

Location and Design

The new, state-of-the-art substation will be built on East 119th Avenue, near the intersection of East 120th Avenue and Holly Street. New transition structures, which will interconnect the existing 115kV Fort Lupton to Cherokee transmission line and the underground power lines, will be located just west of the intersection of East 112th Avenue and Riverdale Road.

Residents’ feedback helped shape the site and its design. Electrical equipment will be screened from view by an architectural wall designed by the same firm that designed the nearby Anythink Wright Farms Library—using materials such as brick veneer, metal panels in accent colors, architectural steel and precast concrete.

All power lines into and out of the substation will be underground. In the landscaped buffer area, shade trees, grassy areas and sidewalks will soften the view of the substation from the street, make the neighborhood more pleasant to walk, and add to the site’s visual appeal.

Proposed Construction Schedule (Subject to Change)

Winter 2018 – Soil tests, site preparation, demolition of structures currently occupying the site

Spring 2018 – Grading begins

Spring-Fall 2018 – Underground transmission line construction

Spring-Summer 2018 – Wall and foundation construction

Fall 2018 – Winter 2019 – Underground cable installation

Fall 2018 – Summer 2019 – Substation electrical equipment installation and testing

Summer-Fall 2019 – Landscaping and sidewalk installation

Summer 2019 – Substation in service

Learn More

As construction begins, Xcel Energy wants to keep everyone in the area informed. Regular updates will be posted on Xcel Energy’s Thornton Substation website, and the City of Thornton’s Cone Zone website.

Please call the project hotline at 844.551.6281 or email with any questions or concerns. You can also sign up to receive project updates by email at