Legal Updates

The Colorado Power Pathway Connecting Coloradans to Renewable Energy

On June 2, 2022, the Colorado Power Pathway (the “Pathway”) was approved by the Colorado Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) as to all five planned segments, in an Order that determined the project is necessary and in the public interest.[1]  The Pathway is a multi-billion dollar grid investment that will consist of roughly 600 miles of new transmission lines and new and expanded substations,[2] which will “boost the regional economy, build a transmission backbone to tap into renewable resources, increase system resilience and heighten power reliability,” furthering Colorado’s effort to transition to more sustainable energy sources.[3]

In approving the project, CPUC noted that the Pathway will allow Xcel Energy to meet its goal of 80% clean electricity by 2030 as required by Colorado House Bill 19-1261 – Climate Action Plan To Reduce Pollution.[4]  The Pathway is also aligned with Colorado’s Greenhouse Gas Pollution Reduction Roadmap, a product of HB 19-1261, which expands upon the state’s climate targets and identifies the largest sources of GHG emissions within Colorado.[5]  The Roadmap seeks to reduce greenhouse gas pollution in the state by up to 90% in 2050 from 2005 levels and includes commitments from Xcel and other utilities to adopt clean energy plans.[6]

The Pathway is the latest project in a series of efforts to maximize Colorado’s renewable energy sources.  Over the last twelve years, Colorado’s renewable development has grown substantially, with the state tripling its renewable electricity net generation and upping its wind power to account for over 75% of renewable electricity generation in 2021.[7]  In addition to the expected positive environmental impact, the Pathway is expected to create new jobs in the communities where the transmission line is being built.[8]

Although all segments of the final line have yet to be determined, the Pathway when complete will cover more than a dozen counties in Colorado, connecting the eastern plains of Colorado with highly populated areas in need of the energy produced, such as Denver and Colorado Springs (as shown below).  Xcel has already begun filing permits with various counties and continues to make progress on route development while collaborating with local landowners, officials, and other key stakeholders.  Construction on the first few segments is expected to begin in 2023, with full completion by 2027.[9]

[1] Project Description, Xcel Energy Colorado Power Pathway (2022),’s%20Power%20Pathway%20requires%20approval,filing%20an%20application%20with%20CPUC (last visited Sep 1, 2022).

[2] Id.

[3] Colorado’s Power Pathway, Xcel Energy – Colorado Power Pathway, (last visited Sep 1, 2022).

[4] Sam Brasch, Xcel Energy has the state’s blessing for a $2 billion power line on the Eastern Plains. can it convince rural residents?, Colorado Public Radio (2022), (last visited Sep 1, 2022).

[5] GHG Pollution Reduction Roadmap, Colorado Energy Office, (last visited Sep 1, 2022).

[6] Id.

[7] Colorado State Energy Profile, Energy Information Administration’s%20renewable%20electricity,renewable%20electricity%20generation%20in%202021 (last visited Sep 1, 2022).

[8] Lucas High, Xcel to begin Colorado Power Pathways Permitting, Boulder Daily Camera, (last visited Sep 1, 2022).

[9] High, supra note 7.