Gov. Ritter, Community Celebrate Colorado’s Newest Wind Power Project
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September 14, 2007
LAMAR, Colo. - Colorado Gov. Bill Ritter joined elected officials, energy industry leaders and the community to celebrate the opening of PPM Energy's Twin Buttes Wind Power Project, Colorado's newest wind farm, today. Twin Buttes has increased Colorado's in-state wind energy generation capacity by more than 25 percent, according to PPM Energy.
Located in the rolling ranchlands of Bent County in southeastern Colorado, the 50 wind turbines at Twin Buttes generate 75 megawatts (MW) of electricity. A wind farm of this size can typically provide clean, renewable electricity to more than 22,000 homes, according to the American Wind Energy Association.
"Twin Buttes is a building block for Colorado's New Energy Economy, moving the state toward its goal of 20 percent renewable energy by 2020. The wind farm adds significantly to the amount of clean, renewable energy generated in Colorado and helps to diversify the Bent County economy. This is a big step in the right direction as we continue to build Colorado's New Energy Economy," said Gov. Ritter.
Twin Buttes is located adjacent to the existing Colorado Green Wind Power Project, which comprises 108 turbines generating 162 MW.
"Twin Buttes builds on the success of our Colorado Green project, and both generate clean, renewable power for Colorado homes," said Kevin Devlin, PPM Energy's vice president of wind operations. "Our goal is to develop renewable power in a safe, responsible way, with minimal impact on the land. At both sites, ranchers continue to graze cattle right up to the base of the turbines." PPM Energy's Twin Buttes Wind Power Project
The entire capacity of the Twin Buttes Wind Power Project has been contracted to Xcel Energy subsidiary Public Service Company Colorado for a period of 20 years. Xcel Energy is the country's leading wind power provider. Xcel Energy offers a comprehensive portfolio of energy-related products and services to 3.3 million electricity customers through operations in eight Western and Midwestern states.
"Purchasing the energy from PPM Energy at this project and from others will continue to keep Xcel Energy well ahead of the state's re
newable energy standard," said Karen Hyde, vice president of resource planning and acquisitions for Xcel Energy. "Our customers will benefit from a carbon-free source of energy, which will help reduce our reliance on fossil fuels. We feel the value of renewable resources will only continue to grow in importance."
Twin Buttes represents a successful collaboration among the wind industry, regional government and nonprofit advocacy groups.
"To ensure more wind energy success stories like Twin Buttes, new electricity transmission projects are critically important," said Craig Cox, executive director, Interwest Energy Alliance, which represents the renewable energy industry. "The wind industry is working closely with Xcel Energy, the state government and other parties on proactive transmission planning. With proper transmission planning in Colorado, we will see many more new beneficial wind projects in the coming years."
Positive Economic and Environmental Impact
Twin Buttes has brought significant positive economic impact to Bent and Prowers counties. About 40 to 50 people were employed during the construction phase of the project, with a peak work force exceeding 100. There are five full-time operations and maintenance employees based in the region. Millions of dollars in property tax revenue is expected for Bent County over the life of the project.
"The Bent County Commissioners are excited about the new opportunities in wind-generated power production available to local farmers and ranchers in Bent County," said Commissioner Bill Long. "We are very grateful for the investment in our region and look forward to working with PPM Energy and Xcel Energy on future projects."
Twin Buttes is a model for sensitive land use. While the entire project spans approximately 9,000 acres, the actual footprint of the turbines and associated facilities uses less than two percent of the total area within leased land. Landowners continue using the remainder of the land, primarily for grazing cattle.