Platte River Power exploring solar array

WELLINGTON – Platte River Power Authority is exploring whether to build a 30-megawatt solar installation on property occupied by its coal-fired Rawhide Energy Station.

Platte River is studying whether to build a solar array on a 150-acre site on property near Rawhide, located north of Wellington, said John Bleem, Platte River’s customer and environmental services division manager.

Platte River is in the “very preliminary stages” of developing a request for proposals for the solar array, Bleem said.

“We considered Rawhide as a solar site probably for 20 years off and on,” he said. “The question we have is how much can we interconnect into the electrical structure at a reasonable cost, and so we’re studying that.”

Platte River also would have to secure various approvals from Larimer County government before going forward with the project, he said.

Platte River is a wholesale electricity generation and transmission provider to Fort Collins, Longmont, Loveland and Estes Park.

The solar array study comes as the utility’s board of directors this week approved the purchase of 28 megawatts of wind power, adding to the 32 megawatts of wind power the utility bought last year.

The wind power purchases push the utility’s total share of electricity generated from non-fossil fuel resources to 30 percent.

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