The first meeting of the Siting of Electric Transmission Facilities Task Force was held last week at the Colorado Public Utilities Commission. The task force was created by S.B. 11-045, a bill sponsored by Sen. Michael Johnston of Denver and Rep. Claire Levy of Boulder. The task force is comprised of 17 members, all representing different stakeholder groups who have an interest in the transmission siting and permitting process in Colorado. The electric co-op sector is represented by Tri-State’s senior manager for transmission land rights and permitting Rick Thompson along with Colorado Rural Electric Association (CREA) executive director Kent Singer.
At the first meeting, the members of the task force selected PUC commissioner Jim Tarpey as the chairman and Thor Nelson, a Denver attorney, as vice chairman. The task force will have three additional meetings to develop recommendations for a report that must be submitted to the Colorado General Assembly by Dec. 1, 2011. Two of those meetings will be held in Pueblo and Burlington to give interested parties outside of the Denver metro area a chance to participate in the process.
After discussing preliminary matters, the task force heard a presentation from a staff member of the Alamosa County planning department who described the process the county uses to implement its 1041 regulations in reviewing utility infrastructure projects. John Lupo, the manager of Xcel Energy’s siting and land rights group, gave an overview of the regulatory process that the company must navigate in order to develop new generation and transmission facilities.
The last presentation of the day was given by CREA and Tri-State consulting attorney Tom Dougherty, who described the lengthy regulatory process that Tri-State worked through in order to obtain approvals for its Nucla-Sunshine and E-470 transmission line projects.
The first meeting concluded with chairman Tarpey recapping the issues that were identified during the discussions as possible areas of improvement in the permitting and siting process. The next meeting date will be set in the near future.
(Courtesy of CREA’s News & Information)