Eastern Colo. transmission project would soften outages, support future generation

A planned transmission project in eastern Colorado would resolve existing reliability concerns in Tri-State’s largest load area – a region that also has the largest forecasted load growth – and meet the individual needs of its partners in one coordinated undertaking.

Click for a larger version of the Lamar-Front Range Tranmission Project study area.

The Lamar-Front Range Transmission Project, a joint effort of Tri-State and Xcel Energy, is estimated to include more than 400 miles of predominantly 345-kilovolt, double-circuit line, with one segment planned at 230-kV.

The project stemmed from a number of joint planning forums, including the Colorado Coordinated Planning Group and WestConnect, during which Tri-State and Xcel identified complementary transmission needs in southern and eastern Colorado.

Recognizing the common interests, the two electric utilities signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) in 2008 to pursue transmission projects in the southern portion of the state on a joint basis. The projects identified in the MOU would strengthen the region’s power delivery infrastructure, serve growing electricity needs and provide for the interconnection of new energy sources.

Lamar-Front Range will also encourage future development of new generation resources and facilitate the delivery of that power to the utilities’ load centers. The region has been identified as housing some of the best wind generation prospects in Colorado, but this generation is impractical without adequate transmission capacity.

The project area includes the counties of Adams, Arapahoe, Baca, Bent, Cheyenne, Crowley, Elbert, Kiowa, Kit Carson, Lincoln, Otero, Prowers, Pueblo and Washington.

A route has not been chosen for the project as Tri-State and Xcel are awaiting approval from the Colorado PUC regarding the need for the project. If all goes as planned, the line would be in service by 2018.

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