Colorado now has its largest battery ever and its second-largest solar installation.
The Thunder Wolf Energy Center east of Pueblo, near Avondale, has 100 megawatts of battery storage, surpassing the 5 megawatts at the Spring Valley Campus above Glenwood Springs that formally began use in November 2022.
It also has 248 megawatts of solar energy, making it the second biggest solar installation in Colorado. Still largest is the Bighorn Solar project, which comes in at 300 megawatts. It is located on land adjacent to Comanche Generating Station in Pueblo that is owned by Rocky Mountain Steel.
This project is located on Colorado State Land Board property, which will get revenue from lease payments. NextEra Energy Resources is the developer and sells the power to Xcel via a power-purchase agreement.
Neptune, another solar project in Pueblo County, also went on line on June 16, adding 250 megawatts of capacity. The remaining capacity in that project of 75 megawatts is to go on line July 31.
Much more of both solar and storage can be expected as Xcel completes its plans that were triggered by its electric resource planning process in 2016. That plan approved by the Colorado Public Utilities Commission ultimately calls for 275 megawatts of battery storage in Pueblo and Adam counties.
Behind that there will be more yet. The plan approved by PUC commissioners in 2022 calls for 400 megawatts of battery storage to go along with 1,600 megawatts of solar and 2,300 megawatts of wind energy.
Allen Best is a Colorado-based journalist who publishes an e-magazine called Big Pivots. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org or 720.415.9308.
Aurora lawmakers on Wednesday voted to scale down restrictions on residents watering their lawns in response to rebounding water levels at the city’s reservoirs. The council voted in February to limit residents to two days of lawn watering per week rather than three, reflecting the fact that the city had less than 30 months’ worth of water stored between its reservoirs and the snowpack at the time. But with the ample rain that has fallen since then, and the decision of residents not to irrigate outdoor landscaping, Aurora Water on Wednesday asked the council’s permission to ease the restrictions…
Brown said the city’s reservoirs were about 85% full as of Wednesday. Though opponents of the restrictions questioned whether the policy had any impact, Brown said the actions of Aurora Water customers meant outdoor water use had been below average and said the majority of single-family homes complied with the rules…
Mayor Mike Coffman also brought up how nearly half of the city’s water goes to outdoor irrigation, and the city doesn’t get that water back. He argued that man-made climate change was a reality and that the city needed to deal with the related problem of water scarcity by conserving. The council voted unanimously to roll back the enhanced restrictions on lawn watering to allow watering as often as three times per week. Residents will still be limited to watering outside the hours of 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. until Sept. 30.