LIMON, Colo., Oct. 29, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- Ranchers, federal, state and local officials, along with energy industry leaders, gathered today for the ribbon-cutting ceremony for NextEra Energy Resources' Limon I and II Wind Energy Centers.
NextEra Energy Resources, the nation's largest generator of wind power, hosted the event and was joined by Xcel Energy and about 150 guests.
The 400-megawatt (MW) facility, located about 90 miles southeast of Denver, is comprised of twin 200-MW projects that are spread across more than 55,000 acres in Arapahoe, Elbert and Lincoln counties. The projects are owned and will be operated by affiliates of NextEra Energy Resources. All of the power from both projects is being sold to Xcel Energy under long-term contracts."Wind energy harnessed in Colorado and across the country has to be part of any true 'all of the above' strategy that moves us closer to energy independence," said U.S. Rep. Cory Gardner. "That is why we should extend the production tax credit to promote wind energy that leads to private sector investment like this one, new manufacturing jobs and a clean source of domestic energy. I'm proud to be part of the effort to continue Colorado's rapid expansion into energy production and clean energy technology." Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper said, "Wind continues to deliver cost-competitive energy. The Limon wind projects will provide clean, affordable energy to the Front Range while helping to build strong, vibrant rural communities. From providing power to food, the Eastern Plains are helping to grow a stronger Colorado economy." Each Limon project consists of 125 GE 1.6-MW wind turbines. In addition to the wind farms, an approximately 45-mile-long, 345-kilovolt transmission line was built to interconnect the wind farms to the Missile Site substation in Arapahoe County. "These projects will bring the amount of wind on our Colorado system to 2,200 megawatts. They offer some of the lowest-priced wind energy we've seen. And they demonstrate that renewable energy can compete on an economic basis with more traditional forms of generation fuel," said David Eves, president and CEO of Public Service Co. of Colorado, an Xcel Energy company. "They also help us meet the state's Renewable Energy Standard at a very reasonable cost to our customers." The Limon I and II projects are NextEra Energy Resources' fourth and fifth wind projects in Colorado, bringing its combined installed capacity to approximately 975 MW, or enough power for more than 450,000 average homes. Xcel Energy, through its subsidiary, Public Service Company of Colorado, purchases all of the output from NextEra Energy Resources' wind facilities in Colorado. "Xcel Energy is a valued customer, and we appreciate their commitment to wind energy," said Armando Pimentel, president and CEO of NextEra Energy Resources. "In addition to generating clean, emission-free energy, these two projects will have a positive impact on the local economy for years to come. With continued public policy support for wind energy generation, we look forward to bringing the economic and environmental benefits of wind energy to other communities across the state and nation." At the peak of construction, the two projects directly employed more than 300 workers. During the initial 25 years of operation, NextEra Energy Resources estimates the two projects will generate approximately $130 million in the form of state and local tax payments and landowner royalties. The Limon I and II Wind Energy Centers are part of the approximately 1,500 MW of U.S. wind projects that NextEra Energy Resources expects to bring into service by the end of 2012. This will be the biggest wind program ever completed in this country in a single year and will push NextEra Energy Resources' total wind portfolio over the 10,000 MW mark.