Utilities: Getting a second wind




Facing a deadline for expiration of federal subsidies, the Colorado Springs Utilities Board is expected to take steps next week to begin to acquire more wind-generated power, up to 50 megawatts.

In a message to the community, Utilities issue manager Gail Conners outlined the process so far for adopting a new Electric Integrated Resource Plan. Last month, several options were given to the Utilities Board, comprised of the City Council, that represented eight months of planning and several public meetings.

Three proposed portfolios were presented:

Portfolio One: (Also known as the Energy Vision)
Consists of 100 megawatts of wind beginning in 2013 and 0.6 megawatts of bio-gas; 0.2 megawatts of micro-hydro in 2014, with additional geothermal, solar and hydro beginning in 2023.

Portfolio Two: (Current Business Environment):
Consists of 50 megawatts of wind beginning in 2013, and 0.6 megawatts of bio-gas; 0.2 megawatts micro-hydro in 2014; 10 megawatts of geothermal, with a 15 megawatt upgrade at the Nixon Power Plant; with additional hydro and gas beginning in 2029.

Portfolio Six: (Current Business Environment with Low Gas Price):
Consists of 50 megawatts of wind beginning in 2013, with 0.6 megawatts of bio-gas; with additional gas, geothermal and hydro beginning in 2029.

Conners said staff recommended the second option, and the board directed Project Manager and General Manager for Energy Acquisition, Engineering and Planning John Romero, to proceed with researching financial data on 50 megawatts of wind.

Currently, Springs Utilities purchases 1 megawatt of wind, or enough to supply roughly 1,000 homes.

Next Wednesday, the board will review the analysis of wind proposals to take advantage of Federal subsidies (1603 Program) and lower wind prices that expire at the end of 2011.

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