Commercial operations have commenced at EDP Renewables North America’s 104-MW Crossing Trails Wind Farm. Tri-State Generation and Transmission Association is the project’s sole offtaker, through a long-term power purchase agreement (PPA) with EDPR NA. The new wind farm is located 20 miles south of Seibert, Colo., within Kit Carson and Cheyenne counties, and is within the service territory of Tri-State member K.C. Electric Association.
Crossing Trails, which was developed and constructed, and is owned and operated by EDPR NA, consists of 20 Vestas V150 4.3 MW and five Vestas V136 3.6 MW wind turbines. Crossing Trails will produce enough electricity to annually power the equivalent of approximately 45,000 average Colorado homes.
With blades stretching more than 240 feet, the 4.3 MW wind turbines are among the largest and most advanced turbines installed in Colorado to-date, says EDP NA. Some of the components of the turbines were constructed at in-state Vestas facilities and within Tri-State member cooperatives’ service territories, including Poudre Valley REA, United Power, and San Isabel Electric Association.
“With EDP Renewables, we are further demonstrating how the cooperative business model successfully brings clean and affordable renewable energy to rural America,” said Duane Highley, Tri-State CEO. “Crossing Trails is the first project to come online since we announced Tri-State’s Responsible Energy Plan in January 2020, under which we are reducing greenhouse gas emissions, while significantly increasing renewable resources, lowering our wholesale rates and expanding member flexibility.”
More than 100 workers, many of whom are local to the project area and state of Colorado, helped construct the project, and Crossing Trails also employs six full-time team members who will operate and maintain the wind farm.
Through the life of the project, Crossing Trails will disburse approximately $12 million to local governments and more than $20 million will be paid throughout the project’s lifecycle to landowners, said EDP.
In December 2020, Tri-State filed its Electric Resource Plan (ERP) with the Colorado Public Utilities Commission and has identified the addition of 1,850 MW of wind and solar to its resource mix. This is in addition to 1,000 MW of wind and solar it announced in January 2020, including the Crossing Trails project. It is anticipated that the ERP will enable Tri-State to achieve an 80% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions associated with wholesale electricity sales in Colorado by 2030, from a 2005 baseline, as the association announced in November 2020.
Tri-State is a wholesale power supply cooperative with 45 members, including 42 utility electric distribution cooperative and public power district members in four states that together deliver reliable, affordable and responsible power to more than a million electricity consumers.