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Tri-State Announces Sprawling Wind Farm Near Burlington

VIDEO: StateBill.com

By Don Knox, STATE BILL COLORADO
DENVER — A planned new wind farm sprawling across 6,000 acres of Colorado’s eastern plains near Burlington is the “latest exclamation point” on the vibrancy of the renewable-energy business, Colorado Gov. Bill Ritter said Monday.
“It will generate reliable energy, create 150 clean energy jobs and provide long-term economic opportunities for Kit Carson County,” Ritter said about the project, which is being built by a subsidiary of energy giant Duke Energy Corp. on behalf of customers of Westminster-based Tri-State Generation and Transmission Association.
It’s Tri-State’s first commercial-scale renewable project, and it will bring the company’s renewable energy power-portfolio up to 3 percent of its total energy output.
The company is under a government mandate to gather 10 percent of its power output from renewable sources by 2020.
“This project puts Tri-State ahead of schedule for its requirements under Colorado’s renewable energy standard,” Ritter said. “Tri-State is making progress and I believe showing leadership in this area.”
The company, however, still lags the state’s largest power producer, Xcel Energy, in its renewable-energy commitment —a point referenced obliquely by Ken Anderson, Tri-State’s executive vice president and general manager.
Anderson called the new Kit Carson Wind Power Project “a small step in the right direction” and added, “I do appreciate the governor’s willingness to have patience with us.”
“We get to celebrate the hard work of a lot of people,” Anderson added. About 100 people attended the announcement on the Capitol’s west steps.
Construction on the project will begin next summer. The 150 jobs will be temporary, construction jobs, resulting in four to eight full-time positions. Charlotte, N.C.-based Duke, which has a large Denver presence, will construct, own and operate the wind farm, which is to be completed by the end of 2010.
Tri-State said no new transmission facilities will be required; the wind project will be connected to an existing 230-kilovolt line between substations near the towns of Limon and Burlington.
“Being able to connect to our existing transmission system helps get the project online within 18 months,” Anderson said. “We’ll continue to invest in new transmission resources that will support further development of renewable energy projects.”
Legislators attending the announcement included Andy Kerr, D-Lakewood; Claire Levy, D-Boulder; and Cory Gardner, R-Burlington. The project is in Gardner’s district.
“I’m here because we’re talking about renewable energy home-grown Colorado power, and every step we make,” Kerr said. “It doesn’t matter so much. Folks in Jefferson County use electricity and power too, and every little bit we can produce through renewable means … is important for a lot of people in my district.”
Gardner said he helped put an amendment into a bill last year that gave $1.5 million for community colleges to develop a workforce for new energy economy technology.
“It is good news,” Gardner said. “This really fits had and glove with the work that we’ve done at the Capitol to make sure rural communities have the trained workforce that can provide the backbone for jobs such as this.”

Distributed by Colorado Capitol Reporters

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