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Power to help Brighton-based cooperative meet robust growth in demand beginning in December 2027 

 

Now just weeks away from its new era as an independent electrical cooperative, Brighton-based United Power has announced yet another power-purchase agreement, this one for output of a 150-megawatt solar project in Morgan County.

United expects to gain the power from the South Platte Solar project beginning in December 2027. The power will help the electrical cooperative meet expanding demand that has averaged 6% annually.

The site is in the sandhill country immediately south of the Pawnee Power Plant near Brush. The location was chosen partially because of access to transmission but also because of lower land costs. This is in the general area of Xcel Energy’s Colorado Power Pathway transmission line that is now under construction.

The solar project is being developed by a subsidiary of NextEra Resource, the  world’s largest generator of renewable energy from wind and the sun.

Pawnee power plant

The solar project will be close to the Pawnee power plant near Brush, northeast of Denver about 90 miles. Photo/Allen Best

On May 1, United will become independent of Tri-State Generation and Transmission, a wholesale power provider.

Going it alone, United will join Holy Cross Energy, Yampa Valley Electric, Grand Valley Electric and CORE Electric Cooperative as independent electrical cooperatives. Mountain Parks and La Plata Electric have elected to also become independent.

As it prepares to go it alone, the generation mix for United looks like this:

  • 32% natural gas or fuel oil;
  • 25% solar;
  • 23% other renewables (could be wind, hydro, solar, landfill methane gas, or a combination of these resources).
  • 12% variable (includes “blended” fuel sources, meaning, there are various sources of power depending upon what the generator has available and can provide to us at the time United calls upon it).
  • 8% battery.

United has 1,322 megawatts of nameplate capacity for contracted resources. The cooperative’s record for peak demand of 634 megawatts was set last summer.

The cooperative has 110,000 meters in its service territory, which extends from the foothills area of Coal Creek and Golden Gate Canyon eastward to the I-25 corridor and Carbon Valley region, then farther east to the country around Hudson and Keensburg of farms, ranches, and oil and gas wells and pipelines.

Allen Best
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