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Time for an Update on the Future Renewable Energy Project in Kiowa County

By Betsy Barnett

July 27, 2022

It is now time to move forward with the renewable energy projects that have been promised in Kiowa County for the past year. Significant progress has been made by not just one energy company, but now two companies have submitted preliminary applications to run transmission lines through areas of Kiowa County.

Tri-State Generation and Transmission Association is a non-profit cooperative power supplier with headquarters in Westminster, Colorado. They are a wholesale power supplier to 42 electric cooperatives and districts across the Western United States and have been around since 1952.

Tri-State has submitted a preliminary application to run their transmission lines across Kiowa County from north to south along U.S. Highway 385 located in the eastern end of the county.

According to Kiowa County Administrator Tina Adamson, who is working with the County Commissioners and energy companies, “Tri-State submitted their preliminary application in February and will submit their final application this month (July). They have already issued Request for Proposal’s (RFP) for renewable energy companies such as wind and solar to connect with their line, but we haven’t heard which developers were awarded a contract yet.”

Xcel Energy has also submitted a Preliminary 1041 Application to the county for a permit to locate and construct Colorado’s Power Pathway facilities in the county.

Colorado’s Power Pathway is an estimated $2 billion project designed to improve the state of Colorado’s electric grid and enable future renewable energy development around the state. The Power Pathway project encompasses more than a dozen counties, primarily in eastern Colorado. The project’s main features include 650 miles of new 345-kilovolt double-circuit transmission line and four new and four expanded substations. The first segments are planned to be in-service by 2025 with all segments of the massive project completed by 2026 and 2027.

Power Pathway facilities proposed in Kiowa County include 86 miles of new 345-kilovolt double-circuit electric transmission lines and the new substation dubbed the May Valley Substation. There will be two segments in Kiowa County with 22 miles proposed in Segment 3 and 64 miles in Segment 4. Lines will run parallel to the Tri-State lines along Highway 385, and also run east and west for nearly the entire length of the county heading into Crowley County.

Adamson added, “Xcel Energy submitted their preliminary application and are scheduled to submit their final application on August 17th. They haven’t issued an RFP for their line, but I believe they are scheduled to do so this fall.”

Adamson continued to describe the timeline, “We should have a Board of County Commissioner’s decision within 120 days of the submittal of Tri-State’s and Xcel’s final applications. This process will include review of the applications, notices to landowners, public hearings and then the final decision of the Board.”

Currently, Xcel Energy’s Preliminary 1041 Applications may be reviewed at the Kiowa County Courthouse located at 1305 Goff St., Eads, CO 81036, between August 1 and August 9. The Tri-State Preliminary 1041 Application has been at the BOCC since February 2022.

Although Adamson can’t accurately, as of yet, provide information on just how many renewable companies are interested in working with either Tri-State Generation or Xcel Energy, or both, she does state, “There are eight wind and solar developers that have contacted me that have ‘shelf ready’ projects. These renewable energy companies will submit their applications when and if they are awarded a contract with either of the transmission companies. Those who are awarded will likely submit their applications later this year or early in 2023.”

To get a full picture of the most current information available, Xcel Energy will be in Eads at the Kiowa County Courthouse on Tuesday, August 9, 2022 from 4:00-6:00 pm. No presentation will be given, however, representatives from Xcel will be on hand to discuss the project further and answer any questions.

Meeting materials will be posted online at ColoradosPowerPathway.com. Check out their ad in this edition of the Independent and scan the QR code to get more information.

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