Plans Underway for Colorado’s Largest Wind Farm

Colorado’s renewable portfolio standard is helping to drive new and substantial developments of renewable energy projects. This week, a company named Greenlight Energy received approval from the Washington County Commission to develop a large-scale wind farm near the town of Akron that could provide enough clean energy to meet the annual needs of up to 90,000 homes.

The permit allows Greenlight Energy to develop the 200 to 300-MW Akron wind farm project on over 15,000 acres in rural Washington County. Construction on the estimated $250-350 million project could begin as early as 2006 after completion of a power purchase agreement and remaining development work. The project is one of the largest wind energy developments announced to-date and the largest planned in Colorado–a state ranked 11th in the nation for wind energy potential. “The Akron project offers many attractive features for development,” said Matt Hantzmon, Managing Director of Greenlight Energy. “The community has been very receptive, the location is ideally situated near transmission lines and the state’s renewable portfolio standards provide strong incentives for wind energy development.” Three utilities have transmission facilities in Northeastern Colorado proximate to the facility. They are: Xcel Energy, Tri-State Generation and Transmission Association and Western Area Power Administration. Colorado requires the state’s largest utilities to obtain 10 percent of their electricity from renewable energy resources by 2015. “The Greenlight Energy wind project represents a significant investment in the future of Akron and Washington County,” said Rick Kusel, president of the Washington County Economic Development Corporation. “It will boost our economy and establish the area as a leader in clean energy generation. The community and Greenlight Energy team worked well together to advance this project successfully.” Greenlight Energy, based in Charlottesville, VA, is an independent power producer of wind energy. The company has a national portfolio of more than 15 projects in a dozen states in early and late-stages of development, representing a potential to generate more than 2,000-megawatts of wind power. In December 2004, Greenlight Energy completed the development of its 150-megawatt Elk River Windfarm, LLC, in Kansas. The project was purchased by PPM Energy, Inc and is now under construction. The company’s management team has 40 years energy experience, including development of 3,000-megawatts of conventional and renewable energy facilities.
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