Xcel Energy is continually investing in our systems that serve our customers across the state, making sure we maintain the overall reliability, safety, and integrity of our service. That’s the reason for the Northern Colorado Area Plan. The projects that are part of this plan are a significant investment to better serve Weld County. It’s part of a comprehensive, long-range plan to strengthen our electric system and build a more robust and resilient power grid.
Xcel Energy proposes to modernize the electric system in this area with higher-voltage transmission facilities. The project includes replacing the existing 44 kilovolt (kV) transmission infrastructure with new, higher-voltage (115 kV and 230 kV) transmission lines between the Western Area Power Administration (WAPA) Ault Substation and Xcel Energy’s existing Cloverly Substation. The project also requires two new substations and improvements to two existing substations.
The Northern Colorado Area Plan is a comprehensive, long-range investment to strengthen PSCo’s electric system and build a more robust and resilient power grid in northern Colorado. On March 1, 2018, the Colorado Public Utilities Commission approved the Certificate of Public Convenience and Necessity (or “CPCN”) application for the Northern Colorado Area Plan. The CPCN approval allowed the Public Service Company of Colorado, doing business as Xcel Energy, to move forward with the siting and permitting of project components included in the Plan.
In November 2018, Xcel Energy submitted a site plan for the proposed Husky Substation to the Town of Ault, Colorado. In February 2019, the Town of Ault approved the site plan. The approved Husky Substation, located in the Town of Ault, will replace the existing Ault 44 kV Substation, which will be decommissioned after the Husky Substation is energized. Xcel Energy owns the land where the approved Husky Substation is located, and has made the decision to move forward with construction of the approved Husky Substation to meet the overall schedule requirements for the Northern Colorado Area Plan even though approval of portions of the proposed Ault to Cloverly Transmission Project, another component of the Northern Colorado Area Plan, is pending review and approval by Weld County and the Town of Eaton. Construction of the Husky Substation could begin as early as late October 2021.
Xcel Energy has developed a comprehensive planning process, integrating public outreach and community meetings at key milestones. As part of public outreach, a Community Working Group (CWG) has been established, comprised of local citizens with diverse community interests, to work with the project team throughout the planning studies.
The current effort began in fall 2019. The Xcel Energy project team defined the study area, reviewed the land uses and environmental characteristics of the study area, and developed a planning approach considering constraints to and opportunities for siting the new substation and routing the transmission line. This information was shared with both the CWG and also with the public during the first public open house in November 2019.
Comments received from the public contributed to refining the study approach, which focused on maximizing placement of substation and transmission line facilities in areas providing opportunities and minimizing placement of facilities in areas where the facilities may conflict with existing or planned land uses, or environmental resources. The project team developed a large network of potential routes and a target siting area for the new substation. This information was then shared with the CWG and also with the public during the second public open house in January 2020.
Considering the comments, the siting and routing criteria, engineering criteria and costs, the project team has systematically screened and compared the transmission line route alternatives and narrowed the number of route alternatives presented during the third public open house in June 2020. The preferred and alternative routes and substation sites were presented at an public open house in September 2020. The proposed route and substation site were presented at the May 2021 open House. Project materials presented at each public open house are posted for review on the website on the Public Outreach page.
Challenges caused by the COVID-19 pandemic prompted Xcel Energy to adapt and modify the in-person open house to be virtual meetings in a town-hall style. Please refer to the Public Outreach page of this website to view videos and materials from the public Open House meetings.