Environmental Leadership
October 21, 2020

Wind project brings benefits to eastern Colorado

Nearly $30 million in local, rural tax revenues and clean energy to power about 270,000 typical home

Xcel Energy’s 500-megawatt Cheyenne Ridge Wind Project, located in Colorado’s Cheyenne and Kit Carson Counties, began operations in August 2020, almost four months ahead of schedule, and its 229 spinning turbines are already paying dividends to the local economy.

“Any time you can bring any kind of a project to rural Colorado, it's a, a win-win,” said State Rep. Rod Pelton.  “It is going to help the landowners that are in the project with annual payments. It's going to help the local governments in the special districts with tax revenue and provide a tax base that is going to be long term.

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Cheyenne Ridge is expected to generate about $107 million in landowner payments and another $29 million in new tax revenue over the life of the project.

 “I am incredibly proud of the people who had a hand in building this wind and transmission project, especially given the challenging year we’ve all had, said Alice Jackson, President Xcel Energy Colorado. “Our construction crews, line workers and engineers had to make some adjustments to complete the project on time—and in doing so, they really raised the bar for operational excellence, and came in ahead of schedule and under budget.”

 Part of the Cheyenne Ridge Team of Xcel Energy employees and contractors taking a moment to recognize American Wind Week in August.

 Construction and long-term jobs

Xcel Energy worked with partners Mortenson Construction and Vestas to build the project. During construction more than 200 workers were employed, and the wind project will take about two dozen full-time employees to operate and maintain.

“It's awe-inspiring to stand next to a wind turbine and understand the wind in your hair is driving it, which helps so many people in the community and the environment so much,” said Xcel Energy project manager Jerry Kelly.

“I’m proud to work for a company that is dedicated to reducing carbon and delivering clean, low-cost reliable energy to its customers,” said Teresa Mogensen, Xcel Energy senior vice president Energy Supply. “To our project team of employees, contractors, suppliers and everyone else behind the scenes I say thank you.”

Vital grid connection

The project includes a 70-mile 345-kilovolt generation tie line between the Shortgrass and Cheyenne Ridge Substation in Lincoln County. The line is a one-way connection to the electric grid.

Enhancing economic diversity

“For people in agriculture diversification is always good, so whether you grow crops or raise livestock, you are always at the mercy of the weather,” said Mark Hillman, a landowner in the project area. “The wind towers provide some financial stability in the years when the wind just blows hot and dry which is kind of what it’s done this year.”

A long-term vision

Cheyenne Ridge is the second wind project in the state that Xcel Energy owns. The project will generate enough clean energy to power about 270,000 typical homes.

Learn more about how The company is making the nation’s largest multi-state investment in wind energy, with new projects spanning seven states which will increase its wind portfolio by 70% by the end of 2021.  Xcel Energy is committed to reducing carbon emissions by 80% by 2030, with a vision to provide 100% carbon-free electricity by 2050.