Harnessing the Wind in Colorado

Returning to Colorado yesterday, I was pleased to see that the new wind farm section, north of I-70 between Genoa and Arriba, has progressed significantly since my departure.  This is actually the third segment of a wind farm developed by NextEra; the entire farm extends eastward from Route 71 and lies adjacent to the Cedar Point Wind Energy Project (north of Limon and west of Route 71) operated by RES Americas.  Combined, the two farms will have 510 wind turbines along and near the High Plains escarpment in northern Lincoln County.

According to the American Wind Energy Association, Colorado ranks 10th among U.S. States in both its number of wind turbines (currently more than 1500) and the mega-watts produced; this is impressive since the State ranks 13th in potential wind energy.  Currently, wind energy accounts for 14% of electricity produced in the State, an achievement that places Colorado 6th in the nation.

Colorado is definitely ahead of the curve in its use of wind energy and is home to Vestas, a leader in wind turbine construction, as well as other wind energy companies.  On the other hand, the State is nowhere near its potential wind energy production which, according to experts in the field, would yield 24 times the current annual electricity consumption in the State; better yet, this energy will be generated without carbon emissions or water use.