It has been exactly one year since Xcel Energy held their first of many community meetings in Kiowa County on November 17, 2021 informing the public of their plans to run a long series of transmission lines and at least one transmission station through Kiowa County. It has been a year of controversy that can only be had when great opportunity is knocking on your front door.
One year later and land use permitting activities are underway for Segments 1, 2, 3 and 4 in Weld, Morgan, Washington, Kit Carson, Cheyenne and Kiowa counties. Landowners are encouraged to participate in the upcoming land use permit review process which will be managed by the jurisdictions where Xcel Energy will apply for permits.
On Wednesday, November 9th, Xcel Energy will present their final Colorado Power Pathways proposal to the Kiowa County Board of County Commissioners (BOCC) in the long-awaited 1041 Special Hearing that asks for permission, in the way of a 1041 Permit, from the county to begin work on the Power Pathway Project.
This hearing comes after Xcel Energy moved their initial Pathway of the project significantly to the south along the southern edge of Kiowa County after a activist group that supports the Sand Creek Massacre National Historic Site complained the initial line was too close to the national park and would disrupt the historic viewshed. That move cost some Kiowa County landowners a chance at significant revenue from the renewable energy projects that will more than likely be installed once the transmission line infrastructure is in place.
The proposal on Wednesday from Xcel Energy is expected to include the more southerly line that does not affect any views at the Sand Creek site despite the fact that just last month the park added some 3,500 acres into conservation included within the park area.
The new line is the Goose Creek segment that will run from Cheyenne County to Kiowa County and is coming into Kiowa County from the north at Hwy 385/CR 65 and following CR 65 south to CR K, then going east 4 miles to CR 61. It will then go south for 3 miles to CR G. At the intersection of CR G and CR 61 Xcel will build the May Valley substation. Segment 4 which is the May Valley segment will start at the substation and go west on CR G for 14 miles to CR 47, then north 3 miles back to CR K. It will then go west another 40 miles to CR 7 where it will go 2 miles north to between CR K and CR L for 7 miles before entering Crowley County.
Colorado’s Power Pathway is a $1.7 to $2 billion investment to improve the state’s electric grid and enable future renewable energy development around the state. The project will increase electric reliability, boost the regional economy and create jobs during construction.
Colorado’s Power Pathway will span more than a dozen counties, primarily in eastern Colorado, and include up to 650 miles of new 345-kilovolt double-circuit transmission line; four new and expanded substation, with one proposed to be built in extreme southeastern Kiowa County. The first segments north of Kiowa County are proposed to be in service by 2025 while the lines out in southeastern Colorado won’t be ready until 2026 or 2027.
In the meantime, there is a lot of work, and that means economic opportunity, for the many counties, including Kiowa County, that the project runs through. Public input is encouraged for the 1041 Permit Hearing in Kiowa County this week. In addition to the permitting process and plans, Xcel will also work with counties to obtain construction-specific permits, such as road-use agreements and permits for construction laydown yards and project staging areas.
Board of Commissioners & 1041 Permitting Authority Hearing
Wednesday, Nov. 9, 10 a.m.
Kiowa County Courthouse
1305 Goff St., Eads, CO 81036
This will be the second 1041 Permit Hearing Kiowa County has conducted in past few months. At their regularly scheduled meeting on Thursday, October 13 the Board of County Commissioners (BOCC) for Kiowa County approved the Tri-State Generation and Transmission Association’s proposal to build 24 miles of transmission lines through the eastern end of Kiowa County running from north to south along Highway 385. That line will run for 110 total miles beginning at Tri-State’s current transmission sub-station in Burlington, down through Cheyenne and Kiowa County basically along the highway between Roads 71 and 73 and ending in the Lamar area in Prowers County at that existing sub-station.