United States

United States

Small utility in rural Colorado plans for wind plant

Small municipal utility Lamar Light & Power is planning be the first city in Colorado to own wind turbines, with plans for a 3-5 MW project to be up by the end of the year, says the company's Leon Sparks. "The biggest problem we have in this rural area is finding a site that is near a transmission or distribution line," Sparks says. "The cost of stringing a lot of wire could make the project too costly." The utility serves the city of Lamar along with a large amount of surrounding farmland. Three potential sites close to transmission have been pinpointed and the utility is installing wind monitoring equipment with the help of the federal Western Area Power Administration. Lamar, population 6000, generates all its power from a city-owned 25 MW natural gas plant. The city owns a gas field enabling it to keep electric rates below the national average, says Sparks. He hopes to put the cost of the wind turbines in the rate base, but says the utility would consider a green pricing program if necessary.

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