Glenwood Springs – Mitchell Creek Electric Transmission Line Rebuild Project
Project Overview and Need
Xcel Energy’s Transmission Project
The electric grid is a complex network of independently owned and operated power generation facilities and transmission lines that deliver energy to local communities. In Glenwood Springs, transmission lines owned by Xcel Energy deliver electricity to the Glenwood Springs Electric Department’s substations and distribution system, which then serves local users. Glenwood Springs Electric Department purchases wholesale wind power from the Municipal Energy Agency of Nebraska (MEAN) to serve the city’s power needs.
Need to Rebuild
One of Xcel Energy’s electric transmission lines that provides power to Glenwood Springs runs 2.25 miles between the Glenwood Springs Substation (northeast of the Glenwood Hot Springs pool) and Mitchell Creek Substation (northwest of the Glenwood Meadows shopping center). This line was originally built in the 1940s and a portion was rebuilt in the 1960s. We have determined this line must be rebuilt because it has reached the end of its useful life. The line will be rebuilt to current design standards that include additional measures to reduce wildfire risk. This project will ensure continued delivery of economic, safe and reliable electric service to our customers in western Colorado. Replacement of the line is anticipated to begin in early 2022.
Location and Design
The existing line location was set more than 70 years ago, when about 10,000 people lived in Garfield County, compared to about 60,000 today. Limited access to the Glenwood Springs-Mitchell Creek transmission line makes construction and maintenance challenging. We’ve studied alternatives for the electric line location, and evaluated technical design requirements and potential impacts on the environment, community, residents and businesses in Glenwood Springs. Rebuilding the line along the current route was identified as the preferred alternative as it resulted in the fewest new impacts along the line.
The rebuilt transmission line will be constructed with steel monopole structures. While the transmission line will operate at 69kV initially, the structures will be designed to accommodate a 115kV line to meet future demand. The height and design of the structures depends on location and conditions such as slope, soil conditions and distance between poles. The new poles are expected to be placed within existing easements or rights-of-way, but additional easements are be required in some areas to ensure construction and operational safety and to provide access to the transmission line.
Xcel Energy has met with Garfield County and City of Glenwood Springs representatives to discuss land use permitting requirements and will submit Location and Extent permit applications to both jurisdictions later this spring or early summer. The Garfield County Planning Commission and City of Glenwood Springs Planning and Zoning Commission will review the respective permit applications at public hearings later this year. Information on these hearings will be provided closer to the hearing dates.