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Black Hills advancing alternate energy plan

When Black Hills Energy acquires the Peak View Wind Project wind farm next year, the 60 megawatt power complex will mean the utility will be generating 18 percent of its power supply from various renewable sources.

State law currently requires Black Hills and Xcel Energy, the state’s two investor-owned utilities, to generate 20 percent of their power from renewable sources by next year and 30 percent by the year 2020.

If Black Hills falls short of those requirements, it can purchase renewable credits from other utilities to make up the difference.

The Colorado Public Utilities Commission approved the Peak View wind farm project on Wednesday. It will have 34 wind turbines located on land along the border of Huerfano and Las Animas counties.

The wind farm will be built by Invenergy Wind Development Colorado LLC but Black Hills will purchase it next year.

It expects to be in operation in November 2016.

The utility, which provides electricity to 93,000 customers in the Pueblo region and along the Arkansas Valley, also gets about 2 percent of its generated power from solar panels, either in arrays or from individuals who sell their solar power to the utility.

The state renewable energy requirement also calls on Black Hills and Xcel to generate at least 3 percent of their power from distributed solar sources by 2020.

The renewable energy requirement was first established by a state ballot initiative in 2004, which set a 10 percent goal for the two big utilities. Gov.

Bill Ritter strengthened that to 20 percent in 2007 and raised it to 30 percent in 2010.

Electric co-operatives and municipal utilities now are included in the requirement and must generate 10 percent of their power from renewables by 2020.

In related news, Utility Black Hills Corp. acquires SourceGas for $1.2B.

This article was written by PETER ROPER from The Pueblo Chieftain, Colo. and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.