Colorado wind farm to supply tri-state area

BURLINGTON, COLORADO - A new wind-power project by Duke Energy Corp. on Colorado's Eastern Plains will supply electricity to customers of Tri-State Generation and Transmission, the state's second-largest power supplier.

The wind farm is to be build by Charlotte, N.C.

-based Duke Energy, with power supplied to Westminster-based Tri-State under a 20-year power-purchase agreement, Duke said.

Duke said it will develop the 51-megawatt Kit Carson Windpower Project on 6,000 acres near Burlington under a long-term lease. The project will be the company’s first in Colorado and fourth in the region.

The project is expected to start commercial operation by the end of 2010.

The Kit Carson project will consist of 34 GE wind turbines, each capable of generating 1.5 MW of electricity, Duke said.

"We're proud to be partnering with Duke Energy on our first utility-scale wind power project," said Ken Anderson, Tri-State executive VP and general manager, said in a statement released by Duke. "The project will further diversify our resource mix, bring value to our member cooperatives, and support jobs and investment in the rural areas our members serve."

Tri-State announced April 10 it would shift its focus from building more coal-fired power plants to natural gas, renewable energy and efficiency.

It was a major change of policy for Tri-State, which supplies wholesale power to 18 electric-distribution cooperatives in Colorado and 26 in Wyoming, New Mexico and Nebraska. The utility's two-year-old resource plan had called for the construction of 2,100 megawatts of new coal-fired power plants by 2012.

Critics had blamed nonprofit Tri-State for not embracing alternative energy in its future plans, the way investor-owned utility Xcel Energy has.

Ritter supported Tri-State's policy change, telling Tri-State's board: "You deserve a lot of credit for making efficiency, renewables and new technology investments a high priority as you look for new and better ways to provide affordable and reliable electricity to your rural customer-owners."

Tri-State has said it also plans to develop a 30-megawatt, 500,000-panel solar photovoltaic power plant in northeastern New Mexico by late 2010.



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