Prowers Commissioners Meet with Xcel and Tri State Representatives

Representatives from Tri State Generation and Transmission and Xcel Energy requested a resolution of support from the Prowers County Commissioners for a joint Lamar-Front Range Transmission Line Project.  Fourteen counties in eastern Colorado, including the six in southeast Colorado, will be impacted by the 400 mile long power line project.  Exact figures weren’t available, but Lee Boughey, spokesman for Tri State G & T, said roughly a half a billion dollars, pending cost increases for land and materials by the time the project is completed in 2018.

Boughey said the personal meetings, being held around the state, are just the first steps to formulating a necessary application for a permit from the Public Utilities Commission.  Steve Gray of Xcel and Sarah Carlisle from Tri State outlined the anticipated transmission line route through the five Energy Resource Zones outlined in the project.  Vilas and Lamar will be connected, Lamar and Burlington, Burlington to Big Sandy and northwest to Missile Site in Arapahoe County and another connection running east/west between Lamar and Comanche.  The project was created to help relieve anticipated power demands on existing transmission lines in eastern Colorado.  The project area includes:  Adams, Arapahoe, Baca, Bent, Cheyenne, Crowley, Elbert, Kiowa, Kit Carson, Lincoln, Otero, Prowers, Pueblo and Washington Counties. When asked, Boughey said the Sunflower Power Company project for a coal fired plant in Holcomb, KS would have no interaction with the Colorado transmission line project.

Lisa Nolder, executive director of Prowers County Development Incorporated, attended the meeting and asked what role renewable energy sources would play in the project.  Gray replied, “We’re just taking our very first steps in this venture.  We expect various forms of power supply will come into play in the future, especially in light of the push for green energy development at the federal level.”  On that note, Prowers County Commissioner Gene Millbrand inquired if private power developers would be considered as a source and could use the transmission lines as well.  Boughey replied that, “There should be sufficient megawatt room on the lines for additional sources.”  Millbrand added that SEBREA, a six county economic development organization for southeast Colorado, would probably lend its support to the project, which would leave only eight more from the original 14 to enact similar resolutions of support.  Over the past two years, SEBREA representatives have sought a means to bring transmission lines or line manufacturers to southeast Colorado to help stimulate the area’s economy.  The Tri State and Xcel representatives said their application to the PUC would have to be submitted by October of this year for consideration.  Hearings will also be held in the regions to give voice to any objections to the project, but they would be scheduled only after PUC has given approval for the permit.

By Russ Baldwin


Filed Under: BusinessCommissionersCountyEconomyEnergyUtilities


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