WALSENBURG- E.ON Climate and Renewables received final approval on their application from the Huerfano County Board of County Commissioners on Wednesday that will allow them to proceed on the development of a proposed wind farm to be built on the Cordova Mesa.
However a fly in the ointment is Florida Power and Light who has leased an area that includes property that E.ON requires in order to complete a 21 mile transmission line project stretching from Cordova Mesa to the proposed Calumet substation in order to move the energy to the Comanche generation plant in Pueblo.
It is this bottleneck at mile 20 to 21 of the transmission line project that needs to be opened before E.ON can complete negotiations on a power purchase agreement. So far E.ON has agreements for 20 miles of right of way utility easement with various property owners in the county.
“Both the transmission line and the power purchase agreement are required before we can move forward with the wind project,” said E.ON Vice President of the Mountain West Development division, Paul Bowman.
There are two ways to acquire the last mile needed for the transmission lines, either work an agreement with Florida Power and Light, which is preferred by E.ON. Or legal action could be taken that would condemn the property and move into eminent domain, a last resort for E.ON. Any actions E.ON might take depend on decisions by the Public Utilities Commission concerning transmission lines in the county. Those decisions will be made by the PUC near the end of the year.
“The project is field ready and can be started by the end of the year,” Bowman said. The 3-0 approval gives E.ON three years to begin construction of the project according to conditions set by the county planning commission.
Other conditions the Planning Commission recommended are: The power purchase agreement must be recorded with the Clerk and Recorders office prior to the start of construction. And any proprietary information can be blocked out prior to filing.
Also prior to construction the global positioning coordinates of the final turbine locations shall be submitted. The operator of the Cordova wind farm shall appear before the BOCC on the third anniversary of the initial approval and then on every fourth anniversary to provide an update.
Other conditions require the decommissioning plan will be legally binding and filed with the Clerk and Recorder prior to setting the first tower in Huerfano County.