Backcountry transmission line plan moves ahead

Xcel project gains approval from county

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The Douglas County Planning Commission unanimously approved a location and extent — a process used for the review of proposed public facilities or uses — for Xcel Energy's transmission line that would go through the Backcountry Wilderness Area.

The Highlands Ranch Community Association Board of Directors and delegates — individuals who represent Highlands Ranch neighborhoods — will have a final vote on the project on Feb. 21. The final vote is part of HRCA's Community Involvement Process, which includes public meetings and feedback from the HRCA Board of Directors, delegates and community members.

“Xcel's transmission line is currently going through the HRCA's Community Involvement Process in order to give our community members an additional opportunity to learn about the project and provide input,” said Mark Giebel, director of the Backcountry Wilderness Area. “Working with Xcel, we have been able to reduce the disturbance area to less than five acres to minimize impact to the Backcountry.”

Xcel's new transmission line would pass through the Backcountry Wilderness Area and end at the Daniels Park Substation, which sits east of Monarch Boulevard and north of Castle Pines Parkway. The line would require a 210-foot easement from the HRCA.

The majority of the new transmission line would be along an existing easement and next to an existing power line in the Backcountry, according to Giebel.

The overall project, which Xcel calls the Pawnee-Daniels Park transmission line, includes 125 miles beginning at the Pawnee Substation near Brush — a city northeast of Denver — and ending at the Daniels Park Substation in the Backcountry. The project will cost an estimated $178 million and will cover Arapahoe and Douglas counties, the city of Aurora and the town of Parker.

The Pawnee-Daniels Park transmission line is part of Colorado Senate Bill 07-100 portfolio of transmission lines and is a critical component of the Colorado long-range transmission plan to increase reliability and maintain energy costs, Xcel representatives said at a January HRCA board and delegate meeting.

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