Northeast Weld County wind farm will generate enough electricity for 75,000 homes |

Northeast Weld County wind farm will generate enough electricity for 75,000 homes

STONEHAM – Northeast Weld County took an official step Wednesday toward becoming a major energy hub for Colorado.

Several BP Wind Energy, county and state officials and others gathered at Dewey’s Bar & Grill in Stoneham for the official start of construction of Cedar Creek II, which will feature 123 more wind turbines that will hook into the electrical grid of Cedar Creek I, which became operational in January 2008 and has 274 wind turbines. The Cedar Creek II project will employ about 350 people at its peak construction.

Cedar Creek I is northeast of Grover; Cedar Creek II will be north of New Raymer and Stoneham. Electricity produced by the two farms has been sold to Public Service Co. of Colorado, which is part of Xcel Energy. The first farm generates about 300 megawatts of electricity, the second will generate 250 megawatts.

John Graham is the president of BP Wind Energy, which is based in Houston. He and David Gonzalez, project development manager for BP, said Cedar Creek has been in the works since late 2006, early 2007.

“This is a very important day for us,” Graham said. Cedar Creek II, he said, should come online by June 2011 “and will be one of the largest wind farms in the state.”

Wind, he added, “offers an alternative mix to energy in the U.S.,” and Dave Long, Weld County commissioner from New Raymer said the latest farm “establishes Weld County as the energy center in Colorado to go along with oil and gas exploration and solar.” A major new oil field has been discovered north of Grover in just the past year or so, he added.

The farm, Long said, provides economic development to the area, as leases with landowners “will help out with ranching and farming in the area.”

Jerry and Margie Samber,who own and operate Dewey’s, realized the added economic development to the region by providing the meal for Wednesday’s luncheon announcement. Dewey’s has become popular for its pan-fried chicken, smoked ribs and prime rib, offering dinners beginning at 5:30 p.m. Thursday-Saturday, but will now see added benefit from the construction of the new wind facility.

“This is good,” Margie Samber said.

Doug Olson, who is president of Blattner Energy, which is in charge of construction at the site, said road construction into the site started in early July. That should be done within the next month or so, he said, and those roads will be used to get the wind turbine components into the site. Concrete pouring of turbine bases has also started, but most of that work, Olson said, is being done at night.

“We’ve had a sort of shotgun start to all this and there will be a lot of activity before we are finished,” Olson said.

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