Garfield County supports rural natural gas initiative

Gas-fired electric generation facility proposed on Western Slope

February 22, 2018

GARFIELD COUNTY, Colo. – Garfield County has urged the Colorado Public Utilities Commission (PUC) to support the use of natural gas to generate electricity in northwest Colorado, thereby strengthening the regional economy.

The Garfield County Board of County Commissioners is backing the Western States Rural Gas Initiative, which aims to facilitate the delivery of natural gas to new markets.

As part of the initiative, Xcel Energy has proposed the creation of an electricity generation facility that operates on natural gas on the Western Slope. If approved, the facility would generate 700 megawatts of electricity.

In a letter to Jeffery Ackerman, chair of the Colorado Public Utilities Commission, the commissioners noted that a new, state-of-the-art natural gas facility would support Gov. John Hickenlooper’s efforts to bolster Colorado’s rural economy.

Garfield County is partnering with Mesa County to form the Piceance Power Collaborative (PPC) in its support of the initiative. The group aims to work with interested stakeholders to promote natural gas-powered electrical generation on the West Slope.

The Mesa County Board of County Commissioners recently sent a letter to Gov. John Hickenlooper thanking him for his support of the initiative. The PPC will invite utilities, natural gas producers, and other collaborations to discuss needed steps to see its regional economic goals to fruition.

Garfield County’s natural gas would provide clean, reliable, and affordable power for all Coloradoans, the letter to the PUC notes.

The Western Slope is home to the Mancos Shale formation, which is one of the largest natural gas reserves in the country. In 2016, the United States Geological Survey (USGS) estimated that there is 66 trillion cubic feet of shale natural gas in the formation.

Garfield County Commissioner Tom Jankovsky said the proposed electricity generation facility would be a boon to western Colorado economies.

“Why not have this on the Western Slope?” he said. “It would increase demand for our natural gas, and promote greater economic stability in the region.”