Wind Developers Snap Up 70 Percent of Wyoming-Colorado Intertie Capacity

September 02, 2008

During an auction ending in late August, two wind developers secured 70 percent of the capacity on the Wyoming-Colorado Intertie (WCI) Project. The WCI is a planned 850-megawatt (MW) transmission line that would connect Wyoming's wind resources in its remote eastern plains to population centers in north central Colorado.

The transmission line will help the region exploit Wyoming's huge wind resource — rated "excellent" to "superb" by the Nation Renewable Energy Laboratory. In fact, the American Wind Energy Association says the state could generate up to 747 billion kilowatt-hours of wind energy per year and ranks the Wyoming seventh in the United States for wind energy generation potential.

GreenHunter Wind Company, LLC, and Duke Energy Ohio, Inc., are the two wind developers that bid for and claimed the capacity on the WCI Project. Their commitments ensure that the project will continue to be developed. One section of the 180-mile line will run near GreenHunter's 600-MW Wheatland Wind Project, about 70 miles north of Cheyenne, Wyoming. Duke Energy has several proposed, but as yet unannounced, wind projects in the same region.

WCI partners anticipate that almost all of the project's capacity will be committed to wind transmission, eliminating a long-standing constraint between Wyoming and Colorado. After siting, permitting, and construction, the line is expected to begin operating in mid-2013.

The transmission line will help fulfill the goals of an Xcel Energy subsidiary, Public Service Company of Colorado (PSCo), whose new resource plans include providing 500 MW of wind energy to customers beginning in 2013. PSCo plans to issue a bid for that wind energy later this year, once the plan is approved by the Colorado Public Utilities Commission.

"This is another important step in the development of additional transmission capacity so that Wyoming's world-class wind power can be delivered to regional markets," Wyoming Governor Dave Freudenthal said. "This intertie strengthens an already solid working relationship between Wyoming and Colorado."

The WCI is a public-private partnership involving the Wyoming Infrastructure Authority (Authority), Trans-Elect Development Company LLC (Trans-Elect), and the Western Area Power Administration (Western). Trans-Elect is leading the development effort. Western is the operator of the transmission lines that currently link Colorado and Wyoming.

Wyoming passed legislation that provided the Authority with bonding authority, and other powers, to promote transmission development in the state and throughout the region. The legislation also provided the state treasurer, with the approval of the State Loan and Investment Board, the authority to invest in WIA bonds.

For more information, see the WCI August 26 press release (PDF 40 KB). Download Adobe Reader.

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