03-16-18 RMFU applauds PUC decision to consider Colorado Energy Plan

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Jan and Virgil Kochis are watching wind turbines go up on their farm

Rocky Mountain Farmers Union applauds PUC decision to consider Colorado Energy Plan

DENVER – The Rocky Mountain Farmers Union (RMFU) this week applauded a decision by the Colorado Public UtilitiesCommission (PUC) to proceed with considering the Colorado Energy Plan as part of a resource planning process underway by Xcel Energy.

“The decision by the PUC is a welcome step forward for evaluation of the Colorado Energy Plan, which promises to bring new investment and job creation to rural Colorado while providing new opportunity for farmers, ranchers and rural communities,” said Dale McCall, president of RMFU. “As we look to the future, Colorado must rely on a mix of energy sources. Energy is a complex issue that deserves careful deliberation and input from rural stakeholders. RMFU looks forward to participating in the dialogue.”

RMFU Chair Jan Kochis, who farms in Elbert County, said in testimony to the PUC last month that renewable energy provides ycertainty for farmers and ranchers facing uncertainty in the agricultural economy.  Thirty wind turbines are being constructed on their family farm as part of the Rush Creek Wind Project.

“The past decade has been a roller coaster for many farmers and ranchers, with commodity prices hitting record levels a few years ago before entering a major downturn that continues today,” Kochis said in comments before the PUC. “Even in times of high prices, natural disasters like droughts, freezes and floods pose incredible uncertainty for agricultural producers. Wind and solar investment provides certainty in our unpredictable industry.”

The Colorado Energy Plan is projected to create direct and indirect investments of $2.5 billion in rural Colorado – includingnew jobs, lease payments for local landowners and businesses, and expansion of local and county tax bases.