Xcel Plans Big New Wind-Power Plant In Eastern Colorado

BRIGHTON, Colo. (AP) – Wind energy generated a record 191 megawatt-hours of electricity last year, enough for 17.5 million homes, an industry group said Tuesday.

The American Wind Energy Association said wind produced 4.7 percent of the nation’s electricity in 2015. Coal generated 33 percent and natural gas slightly less than that, the association said.

The association released the statistics at a Vestas Wind Systems turbine plant in Brighton.

Demand for wind energy is also driving up employment. The industry employed the equivalent of 88,000 full-time workers last year, up 20 percent in a year, the report said.

“We need wind technicians to keep these machines running smoothly,” Tom Kiernan, CEO of the association, said at a news conference.

Chris Brown, president of Vestas America, said it can be difficult to find qualified workers.

Starting pay for wind technicians is about $25 an hour, said Auston Van Slyke, wind energy technology director for Ecotech Institute in Aurora, a private school that trains workers for the renewable energy industry.

Texas remains No. 1 for wind energy while Iowa is second. Iowa generated more than 30 percent of its electricity from wind last year, a record for any state, the report said.

The group said tax breaks extended by Congress last year will help stabilize the industry.

Xcel Energy announced Tuesday it plans to build Colorado’s largest wind farm in the eastern part of the state, with enough turbines to generate 600 megawatts of electricity.

David Eves, president of Xcel’s Colorado operation, said the wind farm would occupy land in several counties but declined to say which ones. He also declined to say how much it would cost.

He said more details would come in May.

(© Copyright 2016 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

Comments

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

More From CBS Denver

FANTASY FOOTBALL
Together 4 Colorado

Watch & Listen LIVE