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Wind power blows into state

Aspen Times Staff Report

Seven wind turbines at the Ponnequin Wind Facility in Northern Colorado are now generating power for 517 Holy Cross Electric customers.

The first phase of Colorado’s first wind farm was completed in November and began generating more than 5 million watts of clean, pollution-free wind power for customers of Holy Cross, Public Service Co. and Colorado Springs.

With the completion of Phase II early next spring, the site will provide approximately 15 million watts from a total of 21 turbines – enough electricity to power 4,600 homes for a year. Holy Cross has agreed to purchase 1.75 million watts from Phase I and is negotiating for an additional 1.25 million watts from Phase II to meet customer demand.

Of more than 900 rural electric cooperatives in the United States, Holy Cross, based in Glenwood Springs, is the leader in providing wind power for its members, said Bob Gardner, manager of administrative services for Holy Cross.

Colorado’s wind power program is the result of a strong cooperative effort between Holy Cross, Public Service Co. and the Community Office for Resource Efficiency (CORE) to provide renewable energy alternatives. The program was driven locally by strong customer demand from residential customers and from business leaders such as the Aspen Skiing Co., Vail Resorts and Rocky Mountain Institute, and municipalities such as Aspen, Snowmass Village and Carbondale along with Pitkin County.

Wind power can be purchased in “blocks” of 100 kilowatt hours at a cost of $2.50 per block (less, notes Holy Cross, than the cost of a six pack of diet soda per month) which is added to the customer’s normal bill.

The purchase has the same environmental effect as planting one-half acre of trees or not driving a car 2,400 miles, according to Holy Cross. Each turbine at the wind farm keeps three million pounds of carbon dioxide, the most prominent greenhouse gas, out of the air each year, says the company.

Customers may join at any time and purchase as many blocks as desired by calling Dave Church at Holy Cross Electric, (970) 945-5406 or CORE at (970) 544-9808.


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