By Denver Business Journal

A unit of BP has begun work on a wind-power facility in Weld County slated to be in operation by mid-2011.

The Cedar Creek II wind farm will have a generating capacity of 250.8 megawatts, says Houston-based BP Wind Energy, a unit of London-based BP plc (LON and NYSE: BP).

BP said it has "mobilized the construction site" for Cedar Creek II, which will be built on a 30,000-acre parcel about 20 miles north of New Raymer, east of the existing 300.5 MW Cedar Creek I wind farm.

"Today marks another significant investment commitment by BP Wind Energy as we continue to build out our wind portfolio across this nation," John Graham, president of BP Wind Energy, said in a statement Wednesday. "The Cedar Creek II wind farm will create new jobs in construction, deliver an additional revenue stream to rural communities without impacting traditional ranching practices, and will provide clean, affordable power to over 75,000 residents of Colorado."

In May, Xcel Energy Inc. (NYSE: XEL), Colorado's largest power utility, committed to buying all the power produced by the new wind farm for 25 years.

BP expects that the construction project to employ some 250 people and that 12 to 14 workers will work there once it is completed.

The construction contract has been awarded to Blattner Energy, a wind-energy installation specialist.

GE and Nordex wind turbines will be used at the wind farm, and about 20 miles of overhead transmission lines will connect the facility to the power grid.

"The project will be one of the largest in Colorado and increases the utilization of a highly desirable wind power resource," Tom Imbler, Xcel Energy VP for commercial operations, said in a statement in May. "In addition, the location of this new project will allow us to take advantage of existing transmission lines to deliver clean wind energy to our customers, reducing overall costs."

BP America Inc. is a major natural-gas producer in Colorado, employing about 200 people in the Durango area. It also operates a natural gas processing facility near Denver.

In June, the U.S. Department of the Interior announced it was levying a civil penalty of $5,189,800 against BP for what regulators alleged was false reporting of energy production on tribal lands in southwest Colorado.

In response, BP said the company erroneously underpaid the Southern Ute tribe about $200,000, the money had been repaid, BP had corrected the errors that caused the underpayment, and that the company was considering its options regarding the fine.


(A report on BP's Colorado activities appeared in the June 25-July 1 edition of the Denver Business Journal. Subscribers to the newspaper can access that report by clicking here .)

Copyright 2010 American City Business Journals

http://denver.bizjournals.com/denver/stories/2010/07/12/daily31.html?ana=thestreet

Copyright bizjournals.com 2010

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