Energy development drives new power line proposal

An Xcel Energy subsidiary is proposing building a new 230-kilovolt power line between Rifle and Parachute in response to current and anticipated demand from the oil and gas industry.

Xcel and Public Service Co. of Colorado say in a preliminary development plan filed with the U.S. Bureau of Land Management that the $27.8 million line would serve partly to help power natural gas compressor facilities.

“Typically oil and gas developers have a choice between using natural gas-driven compressors or electric-driven compressors. Strict environmental regulations (air quality, noise, etc.) and competitive pricing of electricity drive the choice toward electric-driven compressors, which lowers emissions opportunities for decreased environmental impact,” the plan says.

It says an existing Rifle-Parachute 230-kV line lacks the capacity to accommodate anticipated future oil and gas development, with demand expected to increase about 50 megawatts by 2015. The new line also is needed to provide a reliable second source of power into communities including Rifle and Parachute.

The line is expected to run about 18 miles and would connect a substation 1.5 miles southeast of Rifle with another about a mile northeast of Parachute. About six miles could cross BLM lands.

Xcel is requesting a right of way averaging 150 feet wide. Routes under consideration generally follow designated corridors with existing facilities.

“Due to the character of existing land uses in the area, the project will be in the proximity of existing homes, gas wells, and existing transmission lines,” the preliminary plan says.

Two open houses have been scheduled on the proposal, Nov. 7 at the Rifle Public Library, 207 East Ave., and Nov. 8 at the Grand Valley Fire Protection District Station No. 1, 0124 Stone Quarry Road, Battlement Mesa.

More information on the proposal may be found at Comments and questions should be directed to the Colorado River Valley Field Office, 2300 River Frontage Road, Silt, CO, 81652, or e-mailed to .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). The BLM asks that comments be submitted by Nov. 30.


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