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New power line proposed over to SLV

WALSENBURG-  Tri State Generation and Xcel Energy are teaming up on a project called the San Luis Valley Electric Improvement Project, which will bring a double circuit, 230 kilovolt transmission line from Walsenburg to Mosca.  Where exactly the power lines will go is still to be decided, with public scoping meetings to be held in 2009.  The multi-year project is slated to finish in 2014. 

    Permitting the route will happen in 2010, and construction will run from 2012 to 2014.

    The transmission line will connect two electrical substations- a new one to be built in Huerfano County named Calumet switching station, and the existing San Luis Valley substation near Mosca. 

    The project is still in it’s initial phases, with various routes still being figured out, balancing the need of service with the environment, engineering, economics and legal and regulatory requirements.

    The Mosca substation is where the SLV currently gets all its power from, coming over Poncha Pass on a radial line.  If that line were to be cut or otherwise interrupted, the Valley could be without power conceivably for weeks.  The San Luis Valley has been wanting this project since the late 1980’s. The proposed new line will add a reliable backup infrastructure for the valley’s needs.

    The project will require 100 miles of new line to be strung, at $630,000 a mile.  When asked what would this cost the average utility user, it was stated that costs are spread evenly between all the 44 different energy associations of Tri-State and Xcel, so the burden would be spread out.  How much that burden would be wasn’t broken down any further.

    It was noted the project will bring revenue to Huerfano County in the form of second-tier construction jobs as the transmission lines are being built, and as tax revenue for the county after the project has been installed.