(CBS4) — Xcel Energy announced Thursday that its Cheyenne Ridge Wind Project began contributing to Colorado’s power grid last month after workers finished building the wind farm ahead of schedule and under budget.
In a press release, Xcel stated it had already set a record for hourly wind generation with the addition of the project, serving close to 70 percent of its customer load with wind-generated electricity at one point earlier this month.
The 229 turbines are spread across properties in Cheyenne and Kit Carson counties. Electricity produced there travels across 70 miles of transmission lines before it is distributed state-wide.
Cheyenne Ridge is expected to generate about $107 million in landowner payments and another $29 million in new tax revenue over the life of the project, according to Xcel.
“For people in agriculture, diversification is always good,” said landowner Mark Hillman. “Whether you grow crops or raise livestock, you are always at the mercy of the weather. The wind towers provide some financial stability in the years when the wind just blows hot and dry, which is kind of what it’s done this year.”
Xcel estimates Cheyenne Ridge will produce enough energy to power about 270,000 homes.
The 500-megawatt wind farm near the Kansas border accompanies the 600-megawatt Rush Creek Wind Farm, spread over five counties in northern Colorado, that went on-line in December of 2018. In fact, Cheyenne Ridge’s new transmission lines connect to Rush Creek’s.
Xcel intends to reduce its facilities’ carbon emissions by 80 percent by 2030 and to deliver 100 percent carbon-free electricity by 2050.