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A new transmission line connecting the front range of Colorado with the wind-rich high plains of eastern Wyoming is planning to offer capacity rights in an open auction in June. The Wyoming-Colorado Intertie (WCI) Project has announced its timeline for an open season auction for up to 900 MW of transmission capacity between the two states.

"When this line is energized, it will enhance the reliability and affordability of wind power for Colorado consumers and, at the same time, help enhance Wyoming's renewable energy business," says Gov. Bill Ritter Jr., D-Colo.

If the auction is successful, the project sponsors will complete the siting and permitting, construct the line and begin operation by mid-2013.

The WCI Project is a public/private development partnership involving the Wyoming Infrastructure Authority, Trans-Elect Development Co. LLC and the Western Area Power Administration, with Trans-Elect managing the development effort.

It is anticipated that the new transmission line will be regulated by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission and the open season has been designed to comply with federal regulatory policy. CRA International Inc. has been retained by the project to design and implement the auction and to evaluate bids.

The timing of the open season has also been scheduled to be compatible with the Public Service Co. of Colorado's (PSCo) new resource plans, which includes purchasing 500 MW of wind, with deliveries beginning in 2013. PSCo plans to issue a bid for this wind energy later this year after the plan is approved by the Colorado Public Utilities Commission.

A draft of the open season documents describing the process, timeline, products to be offered, bidder qualification and bidding rules are available at WCIntertie.com.

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