(CBS4) — Xcel Energy announced Thursday the completion of a 125-mile stretch of transmission lines across northeastern Colorado that connects power consumers in the southern metro Denver area to energy generated on the plains, some of it by relatively new wind farms.
Construction of the system began in 2017. The last 20-mile segment of line in Aurora was finished in December of 2019.
The double-circuit, 345-kilovolt transmission line runs between the Pawnee Substation near Brush, Colo. and the Daniels Park Substation near the Castle Pines community. It now carries electricity generated by the 600 megawatt, five-county, 95,000-acre Rush Creek Wind Farm that came on line in December of 2018. The line conveys electricity from various sources of generation; the Pawnee facility, for instance, is coal-fired.
The Daniels Park site will serve new homes and businesses planned for that area, including the Sterling Ranch development.
Xcel plans to provide 80 percent of its electricity from emissions-free sources by 2030.
The Rush Creek project was built with wind turbines from Vestas plants in Brighton, Pueblo and Windsor.
Much of the new system mirrors previous transmission line. The new lines add capacity to the grid and a form of redundancy should problems arise, said Xcel spokesperson Michelle Aguayo.
Minor work still needs to be done, according to project manager Bob Anderson.
“We will still need to go back in and complete some last 230-kilovolt substation upgrades in Aurora and finish final restoration work in some areas along the transmission line right-of-way, and some of that will happen in the spring and summer,” Anderson said. “We can’t thank the communities and landowners enough for their support and patience during construction of this transmission line.”
Construction started last summer on another 500-magawatt Xcel wind farm project near the Kansas border.