Rush Creek Wind Farm an Economic Boon for Rural Colorado Area

Feb. 26, 2018

Audio with Tim Brown, third-generation wheat farmer and Colorado Farm Bureau board member. MP3 4 MB. Download Windows Media Player. Time: 00:02:47.

An east central Colorado wind farm project is bringing economic opportunity to the rural community it serves. Xcel Energy-Colorado is building and will own and operate the 600-megawatt wind facility. When complete in the fall of 2018, the project will be the largest wind generating facility in the state and will produce enough electricity to power about 325,000 homes.

Third-generation wheat farmer Tim Brown from near Limon, Colorado, lives and ranches in one of the counties the wind farm is being constructed in. Brown, a Colorado Farm Bureau board member, says the project is providing an economic boost for his community.

"Of course, as farmers and ranchers, we don’t like to see change. So, there was a little pushback for the change. But then we looked at the economics of it, and of course in rural Colorado, we’re not in very good shape economically, so it was definitely a viable source of new income for the farmers and ranchers in the area and also our counties."

The project will include two wind farms, 300 wind turbines, and approximately 83 miles of transmission line to connect and carry wind power output to homes and businesses across the state. Brown says the project provides an extra source of income for farmers and ranchers whose land includes a wind turbine, and construction and maintenance of the wind farms provides a change in economics for local businesses.

"When they came in our little town of Limon here, the economic growth that happened was huge. The local businesses all saw impacts and it was all positive. To the farmer or the rancher who has a wind tower on his place, it is definitely a economic source of income. So it is definitely a positive impact."

Brown, who lives on the edge of one of the wind farms, offers advice to others across the United States that may be in an area where a wind farm is being proposed or developed.

"I would say get involved. Me personally, I am not leased, I live right on the edge of it. But it is not my position to tell my neighbor they can’t have them either. So I got involved at the county level to learn as much as I could about it, to understand the impact of it, to understand how the process is of developing a wind farm. And, the more that I learned about it, the more I understood it, and the more that I do understand that we have to have this in our state."