A new transmission line connecting the Front Range of Colorado with the wind-rich high plains of eastern Wyoming is planning to offer capacity rights in an open auction in June 2008. The Wyoming-Colorado Intertie (WCI) Project has announced its time line for an Open Season auction for up to 900 MW of transmission capacity between the two states. If the auction is successful the project sponsors will complete the siting and permitting, construct the line and begin operation by mid-2013. It is expected that much of the capacity will be committed for delivering Wyoming's high-quality wind resources to the benefit of consumers in Colorado.
The WCI Project is a public/private development partnership involving the Wyoming Infrastructure Authority (WIA), Trans-Elect Development Company LLC (Trans-Elect), and the Western Area Power Administration (Western), with Trans-Elect managing the development effort. The partnership was first announced September 27, 2005 and the pending Open Season culminates over two years of intensive development activity.
Colorado Governor Bill Ritter Jr. and Wyoming Governor Dave Freudenthal both praised the transmission initiative. Governor Ritter said, "This project embodies a regional, collaborative approach that will strengthen the New Energy Economy in Colorado as well as in Wyoming. When this line is energized it will enhance the reliability and affordability of wind power for Colorado consumers and at the same time help enhance Wyoming's renewable energy business. This is another step toward a more secure environmental, economic and energy future for these two states."
Governor Freudenthal added, "This transmission line will serve as a critical artery for the delivery of Wyoming's world-class wind power to growing markets along the Front Range. It is important that states work together to support such efforts as they will prove valuable in the future as we work to blend renewable energy sources with power generated in more traditional ways."
It is anticipated that the new transmission line will be regulated by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) and the Open Season has been designed to comply with federal regulatory policy. CRA International, Inc. has been retained by the Project to design and implement the auction and to evaluate bids. The timing of the Open Season has also been scheduled to be compatible with the Public Service Company of Colorado's (PSCo's) new resource plans, which includes purchasing 500 MW of wind with deliveries beginning in 2013. PSCo plans to issue a bid for this wind energy later this year after the plan is approved by the Colorado Public Utilities Commission.
A draft of the Open Season documents describing the process, timeline, products to be offered, bidder qualification, and bidding rules are posted on the WCI website. Utilities, generation developers and other market participants considering bidding in the WCI auction are encouraged to review these documents and provide comments by April 21 in accordance with the instructions on the website. Visit the WCI website at http://www.wcintertie.com/ and follow the instructions for registration.