Platte River Power Authority, a wholesale electricity generation and transmission provider in Colorado, recently signed a power purchase agreement (PPA) for 150 MW of new wind-power capacity to serve its four owner municipalities: Estes Park, Fort Collins, Longmont, and Loveland.
The additional power will come from a new wind farm located less than 20 miles north of Platte River’s Rawhide Energy Station. Enyo Renewable Energy’s subsidiary, Roundhouse Renewable Energy LLC, will construct the Roundhouse project with up to 75 wind turbines across 14,000 acres of land, as well as the additional transmission capacity needed to bring the carbon-free energy to Platte River’s four municipalities.
The new transmission line will connect the wind power directly to Platte River’s transmission system at the Rawhide Station and will nearly triple Platte River’s existing output from wind.
“Platte River took a giant leap to further diversify the energy portfolio serving northern Colorado,” said Jason Frisbie, CEO of Platte River Power Authority. “With this acquisition, we will dramatically increase our non-carbon energy footprint on behalf of our municipalities and northern Colorado residents.”
“We’re pleased to move forward and partner with Platte River on such a unique project,” said Christine Mikell, principal of Enyo Renewable Energy. “This project will become a tremendous renewable energy resource for Platte River.”
With the contracts in hand, Mikell said Enyo can begin efforts immediately to work with regional regulatory agencies so that construction may begin as soon as possible.
More than 30% of the electricity currently supplied to Platte River’s owner municipalities comes from carbon-free resources (hydro, wind and solar). This amount ranks among the highest levels provided by wholesale electric suppliers in the Rocky Mountain Region and is about twice the national average.
By adding the 150 MW of wind power in late 2020, Platte River could achieve a 48% carbon-free energy portfolio for its customers.
In mid-2017, the Platte River Board directed staff to seek proposals to add up to 50 MW of new wind-power capacity as part of its strategy to diversify resources while balancing financial and environmental interests. Many of the proposals featured wind power at attractive rates and Platte River’s leadership determined that significant additions could be made to its system without impacting reliability. In December, the Platte River Board expressed support for the PPA.
“We will continue to depend upon our baseload resources to provide us with reliable, low-cost and comparatively clean energy,” noted Frisbie. “This additional wind power helps our municipalities achieve significant carbon reduction objectives while continuing to meet our three primary objectives: reliability, environmental responsibility, and financial sustainability.”
In 1998, Platte River became the first utility in the region to provide wind energy to customers in Colorado. Its wind portfolio is currently comprised of three separate PPAs with a combined generating capacity of 78 MW emanating from three wind farms located in northern Colorado and Wyoming.
In 2016, Platte River began taking power from a 30-MW solar installation located on its Rawhide Energy Station property. Platte River also maintains a long-term contract with the Western Area Power Administration for 90 MW of hydroelectric generating capacity.
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