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United Power signs power purchase pact with Solar of Alamosa

BRIGHTON — United Power Inc., an electric cooperative serving Colorado’s northern Front Range, on Monday announced a power-purchase agreement with Charlotte, North Carolina-based Whetstone Power LLC. Under the 25-year deal, signed Thursday, United Power will receive all the output of Whetstone’s Solar of Alamosa project beginning next May.

“United Power is excited to commit to purchase the power generated by this proven solar project, at an attractive and stable price,” Mark A. Gabriel, president and CEO of United Power, said in a prepared statement. “United Power will be able to immediately add 30 megawatts of renewable energy to our power portfolio, without having to go through the process of developing a new greenfield generation facility. The mix of power that cooperative members receive will be cleaner and more economical from day one of this contract.”

Whetstone and funds managed by Rosemawr Management acquired the Solar of Alamosa project in June 2022. The project in the San Luis Valley used concentrated solar technology when it was initially developed in 2012. The facility’s panels, inverters and other components are scheduled to be replaced and modernized throughout 2024 to achieve optimum power output.

“We are proud of the opportunity to serve United Power and the long-term partnership we have developed to provide renewable energy from the Solar of Alamosa facility,” Collin Franceschi, Whetstone founding partner, said in a prepared statement.

The solar project has been producing clean, renewable power for more than a decade, converting solar energy to electricity on one of Colorado’s highest-elevation plateaus. At an elevation of approximately 7,500 feet above sea level, it receives some of the highest irradiance of any solar farm in the country.

“Rosemawr continues to be excited about the opportunities in renewable energy, and we very much look forward to this next chapter for the Solar of Alamosa facility with United Power,” said Josh Herlands, Rosemawr’s head of renewable energy and sustainable infrastructure.

Brighton-based United Power, a not-for-profit, member-owned electric cooperative, serves nearly 110,000 meters and maintains and operates more than 6,500 miles of distribution line. The 900-square mile service territory wraps around the north and west borders of Denver International Airport and includes the north and northeast metropolitan development corridors along Interstates 25 and 76, U.S. Highway 85 and the E-470 beltway as well as Golden Gate and Coal Creek canyons.

United Power’s system is experiencing significant demand and energy growth, averaging approximately 6% annually. It is building a power portfolio ahead of leaving its current power supplier, the Tri-State Generation and Transmission Association, on May 1. The cooperative recently announced agreements with Guzman Energy and Ameresco for portfolio assets related to this exit.

Last year, United Power joined the Southwest Power Pool, a nonprofit regional transmission organization in which members can access power surpluses across a wide network of organizations.

Source: BizWest