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Power agency discussed proposed 1,000-mile transmission line

Feb 20, 2007, The Associated Press

Developers who want to build three coal-fired plants near Holcomb are gathering comments from landowners whose property would be used to construct a 1,000-mile power transmission line from Colorado to Finney County to help power the plants.

Most of the landowners who attended a meeting Monday in Lakin, held by the Western Area Power Administration, an agency of the U.S. Department of Energy, had little opposition to their land being used for the line.

"I don't think it'll affect us," said Dalene Lewis, a Hamilton County woman whose family farm could be bisected by the additional lines. "We'll just make do."

Richard Cheatum, a semiretired farmer from Syracuse, said he would enjoy the money he would get if lines go in on his land.

Hays-based Sunflower Electric Power Corp. plans to build three 700-megawatt generators next to its existing 360-megawatt generator in Finney County.

Westminster, Colo.-based Tri-State Generation and Transmission Association would own two of the generators, and the transmission network would carry the power into Colorado for distribution to its 44 member utilities.

The proposed network would stretch via two extensions from the generator site into Colorado. It would include 750 miles of 500-kilovolt lines and 250 miles of 230- or 345-kilovolt lines. Four new power substations, including one in Kansas, would be built as part of the project. Eight existing substations, all in Colorado, would be expanded.

Tri-State would pay for the $1 billion network, which mainly crosses rangeland and cropland. But Lakewood, Colo.-based Western Area Power Administration would buy the land easements.

Monday's gathering was the sixth of 10 meetings planned in Colorado and Kansas. Randy Wilkerson, a Western spokesman, said the comments heard so far have been mixed.

Western will use the comments to decide exactly where the network will be built. A draft proposal is expected to be done by summer, followed by another series of public hearings before a final plan is presented, perhaps by December.

Work on the network would tentatively start in 2009 and be finished by 2012, as the first of the two Tri-State generators is completed.

Updated: 2016/06/30

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