Tri-State Generation and Transmission Association (Tri-State) has signed a 25-year power purchase agreement (PPA) with a subsidiary of NextEra Energy Resources for a 150MW wind power plant in Colorado, the US.
Located in Kit Carson County on the I-70 corridor in east central Colorado near Burlington, the project will provide clean electricity to Tri-State's 44 member cooperatives across Colorado, Nebraska, New Mexico and Wyoming.
Named as Carousel wind farm because of its proximity to the national historic landmark Kit Carson County Carousel, the project will help the Westminster-based association to diversify its energy portfolio.
Tri-State senior vice-president Brad Nebergall said the latest agreement is a timely and cost-effective opportunity for the company to diversify its generation fleet and deepen its expertise in the challenging area of integrating variable energy resources.
To be built, owned and operated by a NextEra Energy Resources subsidiary, the project will interconnect to the existing Tri-State transmission facilities in the Burlington area.
Nebergall said, "Given existing transmission constraints in eastern Colorado, one of the important factors in this agreement with NextEra was having the project completed at the same time as those system upgrades.
"We can't reliably purchase and deliver the output from Carousel to our member systems without the appropriate transmission infrastructure."
Tri-State, whose energy includes approximately 23% of renewable sources it provides to its member systems, claims that the facility will be its largest wind energy PPA to date.
Tri-State had sought request for proposals (RFP) bids for the renewable resources in February 2013, months before the Colorado legislature doubled the renewable energy requirement for the state's rural electric cooperatives.
The RFP was intended to solicit bids for resources that will begin construction prior to the end of 2013 to qualify for the federal production tax credit and be in service before the end of 2014.
The latest wind power PPA will help the association meet the Colorado renewable energy mandate in addition to a renewable energy standard in place in New Mexico.
However, the association argued that such mandates are unnecessary and urged that the resource decisions of not-for-profit cooperative should be left with its respective democratically-elected board.
Image: Tri-State to buy entire output from Carousel Wind Farm. Photo: courtesy of Tri-State Generation and Transmission Association.