NextEra eyes big Colorado project

NextEra Energy Resources says it expects to begin construction early next year of a 250MW wind farm near Calhan, Colorado, and have it in full commercial operation by late 2015.

David Gil, developer of the project at NextEra, told the Colorado Springs Independent newspaper that the country’s largest wind energy producer has contracted power from the project to Xcel Energy over 25 years.

Xcel has more wind power capacity on its system than any US utility company with 5.08GW on 1 January. Its subsidiary Public Service Company of Colorado serves most of the state including Denver.

NextEra, which already owns and operates five wind farms in Colorado, is building a 25-mile transmission line from the project site to connect with the state grid.

Although NextEra has a permit for up to 147 turbines, Gil told the newspaper that the project will not have that many. The number will depend on the turbine model to be chosen.

NextEra still needs to obtain project permits for the turbines from the Federal Aviation Administration and the Defense Department.

Colorado ranked ninth among states in installed wind power capacity with 2.33GW on 1 January, according to the American Wind Energy Association.

Calhan is about 28 miles east of Colorado Springs.