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Commissioners give ultimatum to Xcel energy on project

by Bill Knowles

WALSENBURG— Xcel Energy is encountering increased resistance to its proposed transmission line project in Huerfano County.

    The proposed project has recently received a recommendation of approval from an administrative law judge and is now moving towards a hearing with the Public Utilities Company early next year.  However Xcel Energy and E.ON Renewables are in dispute over the Calumet to Comanche leg of the project .  This dispute and a drop in revenue for wind-generated energy has caused Xcel Energy to sever negotiations with E.ON on a power purchase agreement and raised the ire of the Huerfano County Board of County Commissioners.

    Last week the county commissioners approved a letter to Xcel Energy in Denver requesting that Xcel Energy reconsider its position toward E.ON.  In the letter the commissioners site the severity of the move and its impact on Huerfano County.  Below is the commissioners’ letter to Xcel Energy.

Board of County Commissioners

letter to Xcel Energy 

November 24, 2010

Dear Mr. Eves:

    As you are aware, Xcel Energy has been in negotiations with E-ON Climate Renewables for 200MW of wind power to be located in Huerfano and Las Animas Counties in Southern Colorado.  You should also be aware that Huerfano County has provided strong and emphatic support for your proposed Comanche Power Plant to the San Luis Valley transmission line project. 

    Your recent decision to sever discussions with E-ON resonates loudly and negatively throughout Huerfano County.  The impact of that decision to one of the poorest counties in Colorado is severe enough that, if the decision stands, the Board of County Commissioners will reconsider their support for the transmission line.

    Huerfano County asks that you reconsider your decision to sever negotiations with E-ON.  Further, the County Commissioners ask that you contact them by Thursday, December 2nd with your response to this request.

    Please do not ignore this letter and this request.  To do so would serve to increase the Commissioners’ willingness to contact members of the press with their opinion of Xcel’s callous disregard and indifference to the ongoing efforts of E-ON and Huerfano County, and to the impact this decision has and will have on our County.

    Please understand that the Commissioners are dismayed at this sudden decision.  The tone of this letter is meant to emphasize to you the importance of this project to Huerfano County and to assure you that the Commissioners are concerned foremost and principally with the best interest of the citizens and the future of Huerfano County.

        Sincerely, Board of County Commissioners of Huerfano County, Colorado.

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