Deal will boost utility’s green power
A deal announced this week will allow a utility based in Glenwood Springs to vastly expand its renewable energy portfolio while providing coal-fired backup energy to a wholesale power supplier that is working to help utilities transition to more wind and solar generation.
Holy Cross Energy, a nonprofit electric cooperative, has reached a two-way power purchase agreement with Denver-based Guzman Energy that will allow for development of a 100-megawatt wind farm to serve Holy Cross members. When the wind energy goes into production in 2021, it will let Holy Cross increase the amount of renewable energy in its power supply mix to almost 70 percent — nine years earlier than the 2030 goal the utility had set for itself. It currently uses 39 percent renewable power.
The deal is being characterized as a power swap agreement because Guzman has agreed to buy coal-fired power Holy Cross receives from its 8 percent ownership in Unit 3 of Xcel Energy’s Comanche Generating Station in Pueblo. That power will serve as a baseload backup to the intermittent, wind and solar portions of Guzman’s energy portfolio mix.
In December, Guzman issued a request for bids from entities interested in building up to 200 megawatts of wind power facilities and 50 megawatts of solar power generation for the company.