Failure to upgrade Colorado's high-voltage transmission lines, particularly along the Front Range, could lead the state to an energy crisis, according to a report by the Colorado Energy Forum (CEF), a nonprofit education and research organization.
‘Utilities across Colorado are working together to develop new transmission projects that ensure reliable electric service and further renewable energy development,’ says Bruce Smith, executive director of CEF. ‘However, regulatory hurdles and siting challenges could delay needed projects, which could thwart the large renewable energy development that many policy makers are now seeking.’
According to CEF, several major transmission projects are under development in Colorado. For example, Tri-State Generation and Transmission Association and Western Area Power Administration propose to construct the Eastern Plains Transmission Project, a 1,000-mile high-voltage transmission system across eastern and southern Colorado.
In addition, Colorado utilities, including Colorado Springs Utilities, Platte River Power Authority, Tri-State, Western and Xcel Energy, are collaborating with utilities and transmission authorities in neighboring states to develop a feasibility study for the High Plains Express Transmission Project, which could include a high-voltage transmission system across Wyoming, Colorado, New Mexico and Arizona. The project would enhance regional transmission system reliability while increasing the export potential for Colorado's renewable resources to Southwest U.S. markets, CEF says.