The 5.5GW transmission line will span 901km across rural Colorado


The Colorado Power Pathway project is proposed to be laid across rural Colorado with an investment of $1.7bn. (Credit: Bishnu Sarangi from Pixabay)

Xcel Energy has proposed to build the $1.7bn Colorado Power Pathway project, a 5.5GW high-voltage transmission system in the US state of Colorado.

The project will be a 901km long 345kV transmission line to be laid across rural Colorado. Made up of five new segments, the transmission line will connect the Front Range to regions of north central, eastern, and southern parts of the state.

Xcel Energy’s proposal will be reviewed by the Colorado Public Utilities Commission to determine if the project is necessary and in the public interest.

If approved, the company expects breaking ground on the Colorado Power Pathway project in 2023. The first segments of the transmission line could enter into operations by 2025, while the other segments will begin service in 2026 and 2027, said Xcel Energy.

The company said that decisions related to routes, sites, and other aspects will be taken up later.

According to Xcel Energy, the Colorado Power Pathway project will bring more renewable power onto the grid, and will also boost the reliability and flexibility of the electricity system.

By primarily bringing renewable electricity, the new transmission line will provide an estimated 85% reduction in carbon dioxide emissions by the end of this decade compared to the 2005 levels.

Xcel Energy-Colorado president Alice Jackson said: “Investments in our transmission systems increase grid capacity, strengthen reliability, help us continue our clean energy transition and provide the best possible service for our customers and local communities.

“This new transmission line will support our vision to reduce carbon emissions and deliver 100% carbon-free energy by 2050 and will result in much-needed economic and generation development in the region.”

Xcel Energy said that Tri-State Generation and Transmission Association is planning to take part in the proposed transmission line project. Its participation is expected to benefit its member distribution systems, while pushing forward their clean energy goals in its Responsible Energy Plan.

Tri-State Generation and Transmission Association CEO Duane Highley said: “Utility partnerships deliver the benefits of a more robust transmission system at lower costs to consumers.

“For Tri-State and our members, the benefits of a joint project include greater reliability and more capacity to deliver power across our interstate transmission system, while providing the ability to connect the additional renewable resources needed to achieve our clean energy and emissions reduction goals while driving investment in the rural communities we serve.”