Colorado Bulk Transmission Permitting Process (CO)
The steps of the Colorado bulk transmission permitting process are summarized in the chart below. Roll over each section for a summary of the regulations and permits it covers. Click a section to learn more about the required permits and regulations related to that topic.
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Bulk Transmission Development in Colorado
The electrical grid in Colorado is part of the Western Interconnection power grid, which covers most of the western United States. The Western Electricity Coordinating Council (WECC) is the Regional Entity responsible for coordinating and promoting Bulk Electric System reliability in the Western Interconnection, including in Colorado. In addition, WECC provides an environment for coordinating the operating and planning activities of its members as set forth in the WECC Bylaws.
The Colorado Coordinated Planning Group (CCPG) is a joint, high voltage transmission system planning forum. The CCPG provides the technical forum required to complete reliability assessments, develop joint business opportunities and accomplish coordinated planning under the single-system planning concept in the Rocky Mountain Region of the WestConnect Transmission Planning area.
In addition, some transmission owners in Colorado are part of the Northern Tier Transmission Group (NTTG). The NTTG is a group of transmission providers and customers that are actively involved in the sale and purchase of transmission capacity of the power grid that delivers electricity to customers in the Northwest and Mountain States. Transmission owners serving this territory work in conjunction with state governments, customers, and other stakeholders to improve the operations of and chart the future for the grid that links all of these service territories.
Public Service Company of Colorado is the largest transmission owner and operator in Colorado and the second largest is Tri-State Generation and Transmission Association, a wholesale power supplier owned by 44 electric cooperatives. Additionally, the Western Area Power Administration markets and delivers hydroelectric power within a 15-state region of the central and western United States, including Colorado (Colorado Energy Office).
Colorado Energy Office
The Colorado Energy Office (CEO) resides in the Office of the Governor, and is charged by the Colorado Legislature with sustaining Colorado’s energy economy and promote all Colorado energy, promoting economic development through energy-market advances that create jobs, encourage a cleaner and balanced energy portfolio, promote energy efficiency, increase energy security, lower long-term consumer costs, and protect the environment (CRS 24-38.5-101).
Representatives of the CEO are involved in transmission round-tables and policy groups, but the CEO’s role is informational in nature, and the CEO does not have (and has not historically taken) a direct role in the siting process. The CEO has identified the energy permitting process as an area of focus for reaching these goals, and offers to educate and provide facilitating services to any company interested in developing an energy project in Colorado. The CEO aims to help companies understand timelines and information required for permitting, serve as a liaison to the appropriate contacts in permitting jurisdictions, and facilitate resolutions in which the permitting process may not fit a proposed project (Colorado Energy Office).
The CEO has undertaken several studies regarding transmission development in Colorado related to delivering renewable energy. The REDI Report (Renewable Energy Development Infrastructure) concentrates on the role of utility-scale renewable energy and high-voltage transmission in achieving the 20x20 goal. The 20x20 aims to achieve a 20 percent reduction in carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions in Colorado’s electricity sector below 2005 levels by 2020.
The STAR Report (Strategic Transmission and Renewables) provides a detailed analysis of ways in which Colorado’s utilities can plan for both demand side and supply side resources and the transmission infrastructure necessary to deliver reliable electric power to a growing state.