The Colorado Public Utilities Commission has given its approval for the utility’s proposed 29 megawatt wind project south of Pueblo in Huerfano County.
Posted by Staff
The Colorado PUC approved a settlement which enables Black Hills Energy to construct and own 50 percent of the wind project, an investment of $26.5 million, and authorized the company to conduct a competitive solicitation for ownership of the other 50 percent of the project.
A written order is expected by Aug. 12th and Black Hills Energy will issue a request for proposals no later than Aug. 15th.
“This approval of our wind project by the PUC is an important milestone as our utility continues to put assets and programs in place to meet the requirements of Colorado’s Renewable Energy Standard, and will also provide economic development opportunities in southern Colorado,” said Christopher Burke, vice president of Colorado utility operations.
“The Huerfano County site, just south of Pueblo, was chosen for its abundant wind resources and proximity to our existing transmission system.”
Currently, the 50 percent of the project subject to the RFP is owned by a wind developer and is subject to a Renewable Energy Purchase Agreement (REPA) with Black Hills Energy. If the utility determines that a new REPA with more favorable terms is available based on proposals gathered during the upcoming solicitation process, then a replacement REPA may be executed with the alternative wind developer no later than Jan. 1, 2012.
The project, planned for completion in late 2012, is expected to qualify for the U.S. Department of Treasury’s section 1603 cash grant program. It will include 16 Vestas wind turbines, components of which will be manufactured in Pueblo and at other Vestas facilities in the state.
On-site construction for the project, which will serve the 94,000 customers of Black Hills Energy in southern Colorado, will create approximately 55 construction jobs, as well as new and recurring tax revenues for Huerfano County.
Black Hills Energy serves 94,000 electric customers in 21 southeastern Colorado communities and was ranked No. 6 in Total Solar Watts per Customers in Solar Electric Power Association’s 2009 Utility Solar Rankings report. The company is a subsidiary of Black Hills Corp.