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Description

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Colorado’s Power
Pathway in eastern
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Colorado’s Power Pathway

Colorado’s Power Pathway is a $1.7 billion investment to improve the state’s electric grid and enable future renewable energy development around the state. Colorado’s Power Pathway will increase electric reliability, boost the regional economy and create jobs during construction.

The system will span twelve counties, primarily in eastern Colorado, and include:

  • Approximately 550 miles of new double-circuit transmission line
  • Four new substations and equipment additions or expansion of four existing substations.
  • First segments in-service by 2025, with other segments complete in 2026 and 2027
  • Endpoints: Fort St. Vrain Substation, Canal Crossing Substation
  • Counties: Morgan, Weld
  • Schedule
    • Routing and Siting: 2021-2022
    • Permitting: 2022-2024
    • Construction: 2024-2026
    • In-service: 2026

Segment 1
Fort St. Vrain – Canal Crossing

  • Endpoints: Canal Crossing Substation, Goose Creek Substation
  • Counties: Cheyenne, Kit Carson, Morgan, Washington
  • Schedule
    • Routing and Siting: 2021-2022
    • Permitting: 2022-2023
    • Construction: 2023-2025
    • In-service: 2025

Segment 2
Canal Crossing – Goose Creek

  • Endpoints: Goose Creek Substation, May Valley Substation
  • Counties: Cheyenne, Kiowa
  • Schedule
    • Routing and Siting: 2021-2022
    • Permitting: 2022-2023
    • Construction: 2023-2025
    • In-service: 2025

Segment 3
Goose Creek – May Valley

  • Endpoints: May Valley Substation, Sandstone Substation, Tundra Substation
  • Counties: Crowley, Kiowa, Pueblo,
  • Schedule
    • Routing and Siting: 2021-2022
    • Permitting: 2022-2024
    • Construction: 2025-2027
    • In-service: 2027

Segment 4
May Valley –  Sandstone – Tundra

  • Endpoints: Sandstone Substation, Harvest Mile Substation
  • Counties: Arapahoe, El Paso, Elbert, Lincoln, Pueblo
  • Schedule
    • Routing and Siting: 2021-2022
    • Permitting: 2022-2024
    • Construction: 2025-2027
    • In-service: 2027

Segment 5
Sandstone – Harvest Mile

The Colorado Public Utilities Commission did not approve construction of the May Valley – Longhorn Extension (Extension) in the January 2024 Phase II Decision regarding our Electric Resource Plan and Clean Energy Plan. We may bring a proposal to construct the May Valley – Longhorn Extension and Longhorn Substation forward again in the future but have paused its further development as part of Colorado’s Power Pathway. Development of Segments 1, 2, 3, 4, and 5 of Colorado’s Power Pathway will continue. 

 

Extension
May Valley – Longhorn

  • Endpoints: Fort St. Vrain Substation, Canal Crossing Substation
  • Counties: Morgan, Weld
  • Schedule
    • Routing and Siting: 2021-2022
    • Permitting: 2022-2024
    • Construction: 2024-2026
    • In-service: 2026

Segment 1
Fort St. Vrain – Canal Crossing

  • Endpoints: Canal Crossing Substation, Goose Creek Substation
  • Counties: Cheyenne, Kit Carson, Morgan, Washington
  • Schedule
    • Routing and Siting: 2021-2022
    • Permitting: 2022-2023
    • Construction: 2023-2025
    • In-service: 2025

Segment 2
Canal Crossing – Goose Creek

  • Endpoints: Goose Creek Substation, May Valley Substation
  • Counties: Cheyenne, Kiowa
  • Schedule
    • Routing and Siting: 2021-2022
    • Permitting: 2022-2023
    • Construction: 2023-2025
    • In-service: 2025

Segment 3
Goose Creek – May Valley

  • Endpoints: May Valley Substation, Sandstone Substation, Tundra Substation
  • Counties: Crowley, Kiowa, Pueblo
  • Schedule
    • Routing and Siting: 2021-2022
    • Permitting: 2022-2024
    • Construction: 2025-2027
    • In-service: 2027

Segment 4
May Valley – Sandstone – Tundra

  • Endpoints: Sandstone Substation, Harvest Mile Substation
  • Counties: Arapahoe, El Paso, Elbert, Lincoln, Pueblo
  • Schedule
    • Routing and Siting: 2021-2022
    • Permitting: 2022-2024
    • Construction: 2025-2027
    • In-service: 2027

Segment 5
Sandstone – Harvest Mile

The Colorado Public Utilities Commission did not approve construction of the May Valley – Longhorn Extension (Extension) in the January 2024 Phase II Decision regarding our Electric Resource Plan and Clean Energy Plan. We may bring a proposal to construct the May Valley – Longhorn Extension and Longhorn Substation forward again in the future but have paused its further development as part of Colorado’s Power Pathway. Development of Segments 1, 2, 3, 4, and 5 of Colorado’s Power Pathway will continue. 

 

Extension
May Valley – Longhorn

Meeting the Need

Transmission is the backbone of the electricity network, with lines and poles moving large amounts of high-voltage power across long distances. Colorado has an open transmission system so power lines carry not only electricity generated by Xcel Energy but by utilities and cooperatives around the state too, benefitting everyone who uses electricity. Transmission planning is also coordinated on a statewide level to ensure projects meet customer needs on a cost-effective and reliable basis.

The Eastern Plains of Colorado is one of the nation’s best areas for wind and solar. New transmission lines encourage construction of wind and solar power plants to bring more low-cost electricity to help meet the needs of our growing state. With these new projects come jobs, lease revenue and increased taxes for rural communities.

For example, in 2020 we completed the Cheyenne Ridge Wind Project in Cheyenne and Kit Carson counties. The 500-megawatts generated and carried by 70 miles of transmission line are enough to power 270,000 average Colorado homes. Over its lifetime, Cheyenne Ridge will produce an estimated $107 million in landowner payments and $29 million in new tax revenue for surrounding communities and counties. More than 200 workers built the project and 24 full-time operations and maintenance jobs were created.

Colorado’s Power Pathway will carry the approximately 5,500 megawatts of new wind, solar and other resources Xcel Energy plans to add through 2030 to meet the state’s growing electricity needs reliably and affordably. The project’s proposed 345-kilovolt transmission system will connect eastern Colorado to the Front Range.

Regulatory

Colorado’s Power Pathway requires approval from the Colorado Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) for a Certificate of Public Convenience and Necessity (CPCN). In March 2021, we took the first step in the approval process by filing an application with CPUC. On June 2, 2022, the Project was officially approved by the CPUC when state regulators issued a final written decision. The written approval provides Xcel Energy the authority and direction to move forward with the Project for all five segments. 

The CPUC determined that: 

  • Meeting 2030 carbon emission reduction targets depends on the timely completion of the transmission line. 
  • The Project is appropriately sized to accommodate injection of up to 5,000 megawatts of new generation.
  • The looped transmission line configuration provides additional resiliency and reliability benefits while avoiding costs. 
  • Cost estimates and timelines for the Project, along with magnetic field and noise level requirements, are reasonable. 
  • Undergrounding is not in the public interest due to cost and other factors.  

The written approval and Xcel Energy’s application with the CPUC can be found by visiting the E-Filings page on the CPUC website and entering Proceeding No. 21A-0096E in the Search field. Regulatory documents associated with the project, including notices, filings, public comments and more are also available online. Filing materials can also be found on Colorado’s Power Pathway Regulatory Filings webpage. 

The Colorado Public Utilities Commission did not approve construction of the May Valley – Longhorn Extension (Extension) in the January 2024 Phase II Decision regarding our Electric Resource Plan and Clean Energy Plan. We may bring a proposal to construct the May Valley – Longhorn Extension and Longhorn Substation forward again in the future but have paused its further development as part of Colorado’s Power Pathway. Development of Segments 1, 2, 3, 4, and 5 of Colorado’s Power Pathway will continue. 

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