Frequently Asked Questions
Roundhouse Renewable Energy is a proposed 150-megawatt (MW) wind energy facility. The wind turbines will be located on 30,000 acres of private and state land southwest of Cheyenne in Laramie County, Wyoming. A new transmission line, which is needed to deliver additional renewable energy to Platte River Power Authority’s owner communities (Estes Park, Fort Collins, Longmont and Loveland), will be located in Larimer County and potentially Weld County, Colorado.
The facility is expected to begin commercial operations at the end of 2020 Enyo Renewable Energy conducted the initial development of the project. A subsidiary of NextEra Energy Resources, the world’s largest generator of renewable energy from the wind and the sun, will complete development and will build, own and operate it. Roundhouse Renewable Energy is currently working with local, state and federal regulatory agencies in Colorado and Wyoming to obtain the necessary approvals to permit and construct the facility. Why did NextEra Energy Resources choose to get involved in the project?
NextEra Energy Resources is the world’s leading renewable energy company. We currently operate more than 120 wind projects in 21 states and Canada. With Roundhouse, we saw an opportunity to bring our expertise to the project Enyo Renewable Energy began, and build a wind energy center that can provide good jobs, economic growth and clean energy to the region. To learn more about us, visit: www.nexteraenergyresources.com
Platte River has committed to purchasing power from the Roundhouse Renewable Energy through a power purchase agreement (PPA). Platte River is a not-for-profit utility that generates and delivers safe, reliable, environmentally responsible, and competitively priced energy and services to its owner communities. Platte River will use the power generated by Roundhouse Renewable Energy to meet the needs of customers within its service area.
As currently planned, Roundhouse Renewable Energy will have 150 MW of capacity. In 2017, wind power comprised about 11 percent of the electricity Platte River sent to its four owner-municipalities. Roundhouse would nearly triple Platte River’s wind capacity.
Roundhouse Renewable Energy will use approximately 75 turbines. The size and manufacturer will be determined later in 2018.
By the end of 2018, Platte River has the option to add up to 75 MW of additional wind capacity.
The turbines will be connected to each other and to an on-site substation via underground collector lines. From the project substation in Wyoming, an above-ground 230-kilovolt (kV) transmission line would carry the project’s power output approximately 19 miles south to Platte River’s Rawhide Energy Station in Larimer County, Colorado. Approximately 7 miles of the transmission line would be located in Wyoming, and approximately 12 miles is proposed to be located in Colorado, mostly on the City of Fort Collins’ Meadow Springs Ranch.
The transmission line would consist of either wood H-frame or steel monopoles (galvanized or rust colored Corten) as determined through the planning process. Structures would range in height from 80 feet to 100 feet, depending on the length of span. The typical span length between transmission structures is 700 feet, with longer spans of 1,200 feet to avoid sensitive environmental resources. Renderings of the proposed line will be made available later in 2018.
The Roundhouse area currently consists of ranching land leased primarily from Duck Creek Grazing Association (DCGA). DCGA is an association of families who share in the ownership of the ranch and jointly manage their permitted livestock and the range resources. The proposed transmission line would be largely sited on City of Fort Collins’ Meadow Springs Ranch in Colorado.
The Roundhouse land rights agreements allow landowners to maintain control of their land and continue to raise cattle within the project area. Following construction, the footprint for each turbine and transmission line structure will be small. Areas disturbed during construction will be re-seeded with native vegetation and pasture grasses at the request of the landowners. Thus, the properties will continue to be used for ranching during operation of the Roundhouse Renewable Energy Project.
Over the course of a year, the project will generate an amount of electricity equivalent to the annual energy needs of approximately 70,500 homes. This carbon free electricity could fuel:
- 100% of all of the homes in Fort Collins (65,518) plus Estes Park (3,140) based on the 2015 American Community Survey; OR
- 100% of all of the homes in Loveland (30,269) and Longmont (35,538); OR
Enough carbon free electricity for half of all of the homes in these four cities.
Cheyenne and Laramie County, Wyoming: Roundhouse will generate millions of dollars in tax revenue for Laramie County to support local services like schools, roads, police, fire protection, and other essential government services. The project will pay the Wyoming wind generation tax, which will be split between Laramie County and the State of Wyoming. Landowners within the project area will benefit from the revenue generated by wind turbines on their land. It is currently anticipated that the Project will bring 250 jobs during construction and 10 full-time operations and maintenance jobs after completion. Local labor and materials will be used where possible.
Estes Park, Fort Collins, Longmont and Loveland, Colorado: Completion of the Roundhouse Renewable Energy project will become a significant step toward achieving renewable energy goals for all Platte River owner communities, including the Fort Collins Climate Action Plan and Longmont’s renewable energy standard. Local governments will further benefit from payments for the transmission line easement and from property taxes.
We are currently studying wildlife use in the wind farm and transmission line route to evaluate potential impacts to wildlife associated with construction and operation of the project. Although we do not yet have site-specific migration data for Roundhouse, the site is not thought to be located in a major raptor or big game migration corridor. Raptor migration is more likely to be concentrated along the higher elevation ridgelines over 10 miles west of the project.
Based on bird surveys completed to date, there appears to be limited use of the project site by eagles. The most commonly observed raptors at the site include the red-tailed hawk, rough-legged hawk, northern harrier, and American kestrel. Common songbirds observed on the site include horned larks and western meadowlarks.
Site-specific impact analyses for birds and other wildlife have not yet been conducted but the following link provides general information on the impacts of wind energy facilities on wildlife. This and additional information on the effects of wind energy on wildlife can be found at: https://awwi.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/07/AWWI-Wind-Wildlife-Interactions-Summary-June-2017.pdf
The project is being developed with landowners and Federal and state agencies to minimize impacts to natural resources, including wildlife. For example, the project’s transmission line will be designed according to Avian Power Line Interaction Committee (APLIC) standards, thereby avoiding or minimizing the potential for avian electrocutions. Roundhouse is preparing a Bird and Bat Conservation Strategy in consultation with Federal and state agencies to identify effective measures, such as curtailing (stopping) blade rotation at low wind speeds which has been found to substantially reduce bat fatalities at other wind farms.
Roundhouse will be working with landowners, Platte River, Larimer County and City of Fort Collins Utility and Natural Areas staff, and their respective citizen boards throughout this process.
- Elected officials and Planning Commission at Larimer County will review the project and hold public hearings following submittal of the 1041 permit application. A siting study to establish the transmission line route commenced in March 2018 and the proposed transmission line route is expected to be determined in July 2018. Biological, visual and cultural resource surveys and other supporting environmental analysis will be completed the Summer of 2018
- If the transmission line crosses into Weld County, a second land use permit will be required as well, following a similar process of public hearings.
- A transmission line easement will be purchased from willing landowners.
As planned, RHRE will consist of approximately 75 turbines and a 230 kilovolt (KV) transmission line with a potential maximum capacity of 400-500 megawatts (MW).
The transmission poles will be single circuit.
The transmission line will consist of single-pole, self-supporting steel monopole structures, angle structures, and dead end structures. Monopole structures will range in height from 80 to 130 feet, depending on length of span. The typical span length between transmission structures is 800 feet, but longer spans of 1,000 feet can be achieved to span environmental or sensitive resources.
State Statutes allow local governments to designate certain areas and activities of state interest and require permits for development involving those areas and activities. In both Larimer and Weld Counties, a 1041 Permit is required prior to conducting any activity that has been designated as a Matter of State Interest (power plants, solar energy power plants, transmission lines, pipelines, etc.). In Larimer County, a 1041 permit application may be approved only when the applicant has satisfactorily demonstrated that the proposed project complies with all of the applicable criteria defined in the regulations. These criteria include demonstrating that the project is consistent with the policies contained in the County master plan and that the benefits of the project “outweigh” any adverse effects. The 1041 process includes hearings before the Planning Commission and Board of County Commissioners and a Final Development Plan, if approved, which defines Conditions of Approval, Development Agreement, and other relevant conditions.
Upon approval of these permits, a utilities easement will be negotiated with the City of Fort Collins.
A thorough Siting Study was completed that resulted in a recommendation for a preferred transmission line route. The Siting Study process includes an analysis of the existing policy framework and guidance; data collection; development of evaluation criteria, development of alternatives, and evaluation of alternatives based on the evaluation criteria. Through this process, three alternative routes were developed and fully analyzed and several additional routes were initially considered. The results of the evaluation are documented in a Siting Study Report with detailed mapping for the alternative transmission routes.
The preferred alternative was selected because it has the lowest overall level of conflict with the evaluation criteria. Among other considerations, the preferred alternative has the following advantages:
- Has the lowest or equal conflicts with vegetation and surface water, wildlife, raptors, visual resources, land uses, cultural resources, and engineering criteria.
- Avoids siting structures within a 100-foot buffer of perennial and ephemeral surface water features, wetlands, and riparian vegetation communities. Requires one crossing of a riparian area.
- Shortest distance through mapped black-tailed prairie dog colonies, pronghorn winter concentration areas, and mule deer winter concentration areas and severe winter range.
In addition, the preferred alternative is the shortest route with the fewest angle structures and it parallels existing linear infrastructure for most of its length.
Enyo has partnered with NextEra Energy Resources, LLC, a clean energy leader and one of the largest wholesale generators of electric power in the U.S. NextEra Energy Resources has with more than 19,000 MW of net generating capacity, primarily in 32 states and Canada as of year-end 2017. Enyo will have a long-term vested financial interest in the Roundhouse Renewable Energy project. It is common for there to be a change in ownership in the lifecycle of a renewable energy project. NextEra Energy Resources, together with its affiliated entities, is the world’s largest operator of renewable energy from the wind and sun. NextEra Energy Resources, LLC is a subsidiary of Juno Beach, Florida-based NextEra Energy, Inc. (NYSE: NEE). For more information, visit www.NextEraEnergyResources.com
This is the only open house related specifically to the transmission line in Colorado. There will be an open house in Wyoming related to the wind farm. There will be opportunity to comment throughout the process via the Project website at http://roundhouse-renewable.com/ In addition, there will be hearings before the Larimer County Planning Commission, BOCC and City Council.
No additional transmission lines or easements are anticipated.
Pre-construction surveys will be conducted as required for certain species. If species are identified during pre-construction surveys, appropriate mitigation measures will be implemented in conjunction with USFWS, CPW and/or the City of Fort Collins. These mitigation measures may include avoidance of sensitive areas, seasonal restrictions on construction activities, and other appropriate measures. In addition, best practices will be implemented, including minimizing the area disturbed and restoring any areas disturbed by construction.