Black Hills mulls $57M wind farm

By Chrissy Suttles

Wyoming Tribune Eagle

Via Wyoming News Exchange

CHEYENNE — Black Hills Energy is proposing new renewable energy options for Cheyenne customers through tariffs and a potential $57 million wind farm.

The utility submitted a proposal to the Wyoming Public Service Commission on Monday seeking approval for a new Renewable Ready Service Tariff. The program would offer commercial customers local utility-scale renewable energy resources through a subscription program to fulfill up to 100 percent of their electricity needs. Participants would be able to enter into contracts with the company to purchase renewable energy for periods of five to 25 years.

To facilitate this, Black Hills is requesting approval for a 40-megawatt wind energy-generating facility west of Cheyenne, known as the Corriedale Wind Energy Project.

“Our large commercial customers, some of whom have been interested in higher-cost, on-site renewable energy generation, have asked us for cost-effective renewable energy solutions that will aid them in achieving their business and sustainability goals,” said Bret Jones, Black Hills manager of customer solutions.

“We think it’s important to partner with these customers to develop programs and options that support their need for such solutions,” Jones said.

If approved, project construction would wrap up by fall 2020. Corriedale would be jointly owned by Black Hills Energy and its affiliate utility serving western South Dakota – customers of both utilities would benefit from the project.

Those who opt in could purchase the energy at a cost lower than if they installed and maintained similar infrastructure at their businesses, according to company representatives.

“Our customers are asking for renewable energy options that will support their business goals,” said Shirley Welte, Black Hills Energy’s vice president of electric and gas operations for Wyoming. “As their energy partner, we are ready to meet our customers’ needs with innovative solutions. The Renewable Ready Service Tariff does just that. Renewable energy is an increasingly important part of our balanced mix of generation resources.”

Black Hills Energy and subsidiaries already operate 89 megawatts of wind-generation facilities that serve utility customers in Colorado.

Review and approval is subject to an open public process governed by the commission.