Trinchera Ranch's Northern Alternatives

Both Tri-State and Xcel Energy performed extensive analyses to identify reasonable system alternatives to meet the project's purpose and need of improving reliability and providing an outlet for renewable energy.

These analyses studied system alternatives, including transmission alternatives, out of the San Luis Valley to the north, south, east and west and concluded that the proposed San Luis Valley to Calumet to Comanche corridor best meets the purpose and need of the project in a cost efficient manner.

Much has been stated regarding proposed system alternatives running north out of the San Luis Valley that are supposedly "cheaper and lessen environmental impacts," while still meeting the purpose and need of the project.

These purported system alternatives have been introduced by representatives of the Trinchera Ranch. These alternatives fail to meet the purpose and need of the project, are more expensive than the proposed San Luis Valley to Calumet to Comanche corridor and they do not lessen environmental impacts.

Trinchera Ranch's alternatives add more mileage and project costs without accomplishing the project's purpose and need. This includes:

  • Adding more miles of transmission line in already congested corridors
  • Requiring a new 50 to 60 mile transmission line from Salida up to Leadville potentially impacting the upper Arkansas River Valley, the Collegiate Peaks and the Arkansas River corridor
  • Still requiring construction of a new transmission line from Pueblo to Walsenburg and ignoring the benefits of the path created between the San Luis Valley and this area
  • Proposing a single circuit 230 kilovolt (kV) transmission line rather than the double circuit 230 kV loop proposed by Tri-State and Xcel Energy
  • Does not produce a looped system which is fundamental in transmission planning to ensure redundancy in the system.

Trinchera Ranch's alternatives risk greater community and environmental impacts and merely shift those impacts to other locations. Their alternatives:

  • Could affect hundreds of additional landowners across half a dozen counties, cross through heavily used forest and federal lands, cross extremely rugged terrain, and still do not meet the needs of Southern Colorado
  • Utilize existing congested transmission line corridors that have reliability concerns due to the potential for catastrophic problems such as forest fires
  • Cross land with high concentrations of homes in some locations.
  • Traverse through the upper Arkansas Valley along the Collegiate Peaks and other scenic mountains
  • Impact federal and forest lands and would require a re-start of the already-lengthy National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) process

Trinchera Ranch's proposals do not meet the project's purpose and need and would result in potential impacts to the environment and numerous communities in Colorado, unwarranted delays in project implementation, and increased costs to electric customers. Their proposal was performed outside the normal integrated transmission planning process and does not include feasibility and siting studies, detailed cost estimates and community and landowner outreach. Tri-State and Xcel Energy do not feel that such alternatives are reasonable solutions to the challenges faced in Southern Colorado.

A closer look at contrasting proposals

Alternative Routes map

Click here for a handout discussing the proposed system alternatives (1 MB) PDF logo

In the News

Power line generates public comments
Valley Courier
April 27, 2012


SLV power line headed back to drawing board
Pueblo Chieftain
April 27, 2012


Support for San Luis Valley line isn't powering down
Denver Post
November 2, 2011


Xcel is out, but transmission line is not
Valley Courier
November 2, 2011


Xcel likely to drop SLV solar, transmission line proposal
Pueblo Chieftain
November 1, 2011


San Luis Valley Power
Pueblo Chieftain
September 14, 2011


Colorado PUC reaffirms approval of San Luis Valley power line sought by Xcel, Tri-State
Denver Business Journal
September 2, 2011




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