Gardner pays a visit to Colo. wind farm

Left to right: Duke Energy's Jessee Byron, Colorado Congressman Cory Gardner and Tri-State's Paul Griffin stand among the 34 turbines that make up the Kit Carson Windpower project.

Colorado Congressman Cory Gardner was back in his home state earlier this month while the U.S. House of Representatives was on its spring break.  Gardner kept a busy schedule and on one Saturday, after having delivered the commencement address at Lamar Community College, he drove north to the town of Burlington where he had pre-arranged a tour of the Kit Carson Windpower facility.

Joined by Tri-State’s senior government relations advisor Paul Griffin and Jesse Byron, Duke Energy’s on-site plant manager, Gardner spent more than an hour touring the 51-megawatt wind farm, which is located about 80 miles from his hometown of Yuma.

“It was great to have Congressman Gardner tour the Kit Carson facility to see first-hand the potential as well as the challenges of integrating renewable energy into Tri-State’s generation mix,” Griffin said.  Tri-State has a 20-year contract to purchase the output from the facility’s 34 turbines, which are owned and operated by Duke Energy.

Of course, Gardner is no stranger to the eastern plains or to electric cooperatives.  He is a fifth-generation rural Coloradoan with family roots dating back to 1886.  He grew up working in his family’s farm implement dealership where he did everything from sweep the floors to manage the books and order inventory.  Along with his wife and daughter, he lives in a house that once belonged to his great-grandparents.

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