Xcel’s own expert, Tom Green, testified in February 2010 that at least 355 megawatts (MW) of new generation could be exported on the existing system – more than 10-times the amount of renewable energy currently generated in the San Luis Valley. This number is very important when you consider how little new energy the utilities plan to add to the system.
In early 2010, as part of their effort to sell this transmission line as a green project, Xcel touted plans to export more than 1,100 MW of solar energy out of the San Luis Valley. Just four months later, they dropped those lofty, unsubstantiated claims to under 200 MW which could easily be accommodated by the existing system. Now, Xcel is planning no additional solar projects in the San Luis Valley beyond the 60 MW currently under contract.
So why build a massive transmission line if there is no new energy to go on it? The answer is simple – corporate greed.
Xcel is guaranteed a double-digit profit percentage on infrastructure projects like transmission lines. This profit, paid for through increased electricity rates, provides a tempting incentive to build the biggest, longest, most expensive project.
We don’t think Xcel’s corporate greed is a justifiable need to sacrifice all that makes the region unique.