Xcel sets date for Silverthorne substation open house
SILVERTHORNE A much-anticipated Xcel Energy community open house will gather public opinions on a new substation planned for the Silverthorne area. The meeting is scheduled for Tuesday from 5:30-7:30 p.m. at the Silverthorne Pavilion.Concerns about the proposed substation include fears that it would damage property values and destroy scenic views.Xcel Energy has been looking for a potential substation site for more than a decade because of growth in the Silverthorne area of 3 to 4 percent yearly. The utility has identified 21 possible sites around Silverthorne for the substation but hasnt settled on any but hasnt ruled any out yet, either.We’ll be making a presentation on the need for the new substation; what type of substation were considering; what is required from permitting and operation standpoint; some information on the nearly two dozen sites we have considered note we have not selected one; timelines; and other information as needed, said Mark Stutz, spokesman for Xcel. Obviously there will be presentation materials and Q-&-A opportunities.Ten years ago, a substation plan was denied by the county. Since then, Xcel has been looking for another site.Theyre getting closer to selecting a site, said Mark Leidal, Silverthorne planning director. It will likely be on land in the county. They started at two dozen sites. Theyve narrowed it down to three. Stutz said the need for a new substation has grown more pronounced each year.Often, he said, feeder lines from the areas two existing substations are operating at near 100 percent capacity during high-demand periods. The Dillon substation is 4-1/2 miles away, and Friscos is 5 miles away, distances over which outages are more likely.To combat reliability issues, a temporary substation operated from 2001 to 2003, and a new distribution feeder was installed from the Dillon substation in 2002. The utility wants to have the plant operating by the fall of 2011 and would need to begin construction in the spring of 2010.We need to gather all of the public input we need before making any final determinations, Stutz added. That’s the purpose of the meeting, and part of our process. Try as we might, we dont always get all of the information we need to make an informed decision until after we have some time to collect public comment from those who live in the area.Residents of a housing development in the Sage Creek Canyon subdivision near Silverthorne are concerned about Xcels exploratory work done on the TYL Ranch adjacent to the residential area last year. They worry that substation construction would damage private roads and their personal water system. There are also concerns that an elk herd will be adversely affected by a power station and that its construction would violate the Lower Blue River master development plan by interrupting view corridors.Leidal confirmed that open views of the substation would be likely anywhere its built. Transmission towers and lines may have a greater impact on views than the actual facility. Its important from the towns perceptive to have a substation, because reliability of electricity is important to the business community, Leidal said. But youve got to be able to mitigate for visual and neighborhood impacts.
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