ARCHIVED  September 6, 2002

Hudson power plant plans finally under way

HUDSON — Increased demands on regional utilities in the summer of 2002 highlight the need for more electricity for a rapidly growing Northern Colorado, and some of that need will be met when a new power plant goes into operation.

The Rocky Mountain Energy Center, a 600-megawatt facility, will be built on a 630-acre site just east of Hudson in southern Weld County. It is expected to go on line in May 2004.

The $360 million power plant will be owned by Calpine, an energy-developing company based in San Jose, Calif. Xcel Energy, which supplies electricity to Greeley and several other Weld County communities, has an exclusive 10-year contract to buy electricity produced by the plant.

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Calpine sought annexation of the land by the town of Hudson in 2001, but strong local opposition forced the company to take its proposal to the county.

“It was presented to us as a possible annexation, but given the opposition and the possibility of a (local) referendum, (Calpine) withdrew its application and went to the county,´ said Jim Landeck, Hudson town administrator.

Monica Daniels, Weld County planning director, said county commissioners voted 5-0 in February 2002 to approve the proposal. Daniels said commissioners made the unanimous decision despite vocal opposition to the project.

“There was a lot of controversy and (protesters) expressed their concerns at the public hearings,” she said.

Some local residents worried that the plant would produce large increases in traffic through the town of less than 2,000 residents and result in noise and light pollution.

Calpine officials said the plant will use a minimum amount of lighting and promised noise levels would not exceed 55 decibels. It will employ between 20 and 25 people and bring in an annual payroll of more than $1 million.

The power plant will burn natural gas and produce electricity with two Westinghouse combustion turbines combined with a single steam turbine. It will have the capacity to provide enough power for 600,000 households across Colorado.

Landeck said Calpine has been moving dirt on the property for the last several weeks and should begin building soon.

“I would expect to see buildings under construction in the next six to eight weeks,” he said.

HUDSON — Increased demands on regional utilities in the summer of 2002 highlight the need for more electricity for a rapidly growing Northern Colorado, and some of that need will be met when a new power plant goes into operation.

The Rocky Mountain Energy Center, a 600-megawatt facility, will be built on a 630-acre site just east of Hudson in southern Weld County. It is expected to go on line in May 2004.

The $360 million power plant will be owned by Calpine, an energy-developing company based in San Jose, Calif. Xcel Energy, which supplies electricity to Greeley and several other Weld…

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