The latest milestone in our Colorado clean energy journey is called Renewable Advantage. This is our plan to add 200-megawatts (MW) of utility-scale solar to our system in Southern Colorado, which will deliver $66 million in customer savings over 15 years. With Renewable Advantage, more than half of our total electric generation mix in Colorado will come from renewable sources, leading to a 70% emissions reduction by 2024.
The 200 MW solar facility, to be constructed in Pueblo County, will be developed and owned by a renewable energy developer, 174 Power Global. Black Hills Energy will purchase all of the energy generated at the facility under the terms of a long-term purchase power agreement with 174 Power Global.
Carbon-free energy for Southern Colorado
The addition of up to 200 MW solar project would result in approximately 51 percent of the utility’s Southern Colorado generation portfolio coming from carbon-free resources by 2024. The company will achieve 30 percent renewables by 2020.
Our Renewable Advantage project is expected to lower customer energy costs by approximately $66 million over 15 years and provide far-reaching economic and environmental benefits to our customers and communities. Forecasted benefits include:
- $66 million in customer cost savings
- $178 million in direct and indirect economic benefits through state and local taxes, federal taxes
- 250 construction jobs
- 51% renewable energy mix
- 71% reduction in carbon emissions by 2024
As requested by the Colorado Public Utilities Commission, Black Hills Energy provides a detailed analysis of proposals received during its competitive solicitation process for up to 200 MW of new renewable energy resources. In total, Renewable Advantage attracted 54 bids from 25 bidders for projects ranging from wind, solar and solar plus battery storage technologies. With the participation of a third-party evaluator, we completed extensive modeling and analysis of each of the bids to fully assess the value of each project. The Public 120-Day Report Appendix D – Bid Summary may be viewed here.
Frequently asked questions
What are you announcing?
Black Hills Energy has signed a 15-year power purchase agreement for 200-megawatts (MW) of new, utility-scale solar energy resource to come online in 2023.
How will customers benefit from this power purchase agreement?
Under the terms of the agreement, the company will purchase all of the energy generated at the 200-MW solar facility, resulting in an estimated $66 million in customer cost savings over the 15-year contract term.
Where will the solar energy facility be located?
The 200-MW utility scale solar energy facility will be constructed in Pueblo County, approximately 18 miles west of Pueblo on the north side of Highway 50.
Who was selected to develop the solar project?
The project will be developed by 174 Power Global, a leading solar and energy storage project developer focused on North America’s utility and commercial and industrial energy markets. 174 Power Global was the preferred bidder in a competitive solicitation process overseen by the Colorado Public Utilities Commission.
What is the anticipated cost of the project?
The project has an estimated construction cost of over $200 million.
What is the timeline for construction?
With the contract in place, construction of the 200-MW solar facility is anticipated to begin in mid-2022 with the project coming online and energy flowing in late 2023.
How much renewable energy will Black Hills Energy have on its system under the Renewable Advantage plan?
With the addition of 200-MW of solar energy on its system, more than half of the Black Hills Energy generation mix in Colorado is forecasted to come from clean, renewable energy sources, leading to a 70% reduction in carbon emissions by 2024.
What are the anticipated economic benefits of Renewable Advantage and this 200-MW solar project?
Our Renewable Advantage plan is forecasted to deliver about $178 million in direct and indirect benefits through state, local, and federal taxes, plus approximately 250 good-paying construction jobs with the potential for up to 450 workers during certain phase of construction.
In what other ways will Black Hills Energy’s customers benefit from Renewable Advantage?
With abundant wind and solar resources, we believe Pueblo and Southern Colorado have the potential to lead the nation in the adoption of clean energy development, while also saving customers money and growing the regional economy. As we did with our recently completed Busch Ranch II wind project, we’ll continue to seek out local businesses and suppliers for a stronger, cleaner Southern Colorado.
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