Xcel Energy Uses Vaisala’s Due Diligence Services to Finance Colorado’s Largest Wind Energy Project

When complete, 600 MW Rush Creek will be one of the largest wind farms in Colorado and the most economical.

Vaisala, a global leader in environmental and industrial measurement and provider of industry-leading renewable energy consulting services, has partnered with Xcel Energy, Colorado’s largest utility, to provide due diligence services on its 600 MW Rush Creek Wind Farm. Once complete, the wind farm will be one of the largest in Colorado, as well as the most economical. It will also be the first to be entirely owned and operated by Xcel Energy through its subsidiary Public Service Company of Colorado.

Flexibility and speed were key for the Rush Creek Wind Farm, which was one of the reasons Vaisala was selected by Xcel Energy to support the project. Xcel Energy must begin work on the project before the end of 2016. Meeting this deadline will help the company preserve $125 million in tax credits.

“Vaisala worked fast,” commented Gerald Kelly, Project Manager for Rush Creek at Xcel Energy. “They are flexible, and they met our deadline. This allowed us to continue with our plans, and will save Colorado customers money.”

As a pioneer in utility-scale wind energy assessment, Vaisala delivered comprehensive energy due diligence reports for the project. The reports included detailed analysis of meteorological observations at the project sites, weather simulation, expected energy production and uncertainties surrounding generation predictions for the project.

The purpose of Vaisala’s reports was to characterize expected generation at the Rush Creek site, and in the process create investor certainty for Xcel Energy. Vaisala’s report concluded that the Rush Creek Wind Farm I site is expected to produce just over 2,311 GWh on an annual basis, enough to power more than 200,000 homes. This total accounts for the real-world effects that can cause wind farm energy losses, including availability issues, wake effects, line losses and turbine inefficiencies and degradation.

The Rush Creek Wind Farm will in turn deliver a boost to Colorado’s economy, as the wind project’s transmission lines and distribution facilities will all be locally designed, manufactured, installed and operated. As a result, the Rush Creek Wind Project is expected to expand the local tax base, create hundreds of jobs and generate more than $180 million in landowner lease payments and property taxes.

“We’re proud to have provided our due diligence services to Xcel Energy on its flagship Rush Creek Wind Farm, one that will inject an estimated $1 billion into the Colorado economy and be among the largest wind projects in the state,” said Matthew Hendrickson, Vaisala’s Global Manager of Energy Assessment. “As Colorado aims to source almost a third of its electricity from renewable sources by 2020, Rush Creek represents a major step forward toward meeting that goal.”