Colorado State University to Prepare Permit Application for Maxwell Ranch Green Power Project after Year of Studies, New Regulations

Note to Editors: More information about the CSU Green Power Project is available with the news release at

The Larimer County Planning Commission late last week unanimously recommended approval of new regulations creating a public process for large energy projects, which means Colorado State University can now prepare an application for developing a wind farm on the Maxwell Ranch.

The Larimer County Commissioners are scheduled to consider adoption of the regulations at an Oct. 20 meeting.

As part of its efforts to be 100 percent sustainable, Colorado State announced in March 2007 that it wanted to build a wind farm – called the CSU Green Power Project – on the university’s 9,000-acre Maxwell Ranch near the Colorado-Wyoming border. The ranch was donated to the university by the Maxwell family in the 1970s for use by the university and for conducting research.

The Colorado State University Research Foundation, or CSURF, the private, non-profit advocacy arm of the university, contracted with Wind Holding LLC to develop the facility.

In 2007, Wind Holding’s engineering contractor, EDAW, began informal meetings with county planners to discuss how the wind farm would fit in with county regulations. In Fall 2007, Wind Holding also began a series of studies to determine the amount and velocity of wind on the property as well as biological impacts.

Upon hearing about the wind farm and other large public projects planned in the county, Larimer County officials agreed they needed new regulations to accommodate such projects. At the county’s request, and in good faith, CSU and Wind Holding agreed to delay submitting a formal proposal until the county had adopted the 1041 regulations, which has slowed development of the project. The proposed regulations require the types of studies that Wind Holding has spent the past year conducting on the site.

"We look forward to working closely with Larimer County to manage the public process," said Bruce Morley, principal in Wind Holding LLC. "To date, no proposal has been submitted to the County and no formal process has begun. This is an important project for the region that provides the kinds of clean and renewable energy solutions Governor Bill Ritter seeks in his Climate Action Plan."

The new county regulations will allow for a formal public process for projects such as the CSU Green Power Project. Once the regulations are formally approved by the Larimer County Commissioners, Wind Holding is expected to submit a formal application to begin a public process as adopted in the new regulations. That process will include a series of public meetings with potentially affected neighborhoods and the general public. Results of the biological and wind studies also will be submitted as part of the application process.

"The wind farm furthers the university’s dedication to practicing, researching and developing clean-energy solutions and environmental stewardship," said Bill Farland, the university’s vice president for Research. "It also provides unsurpassed opportunities to study both energy systems and environmental systems that encompass a variety of university departments and societal interests."

Colorado State University sets the standard as a sustainable and environmentally responsible institution of higher education and the nation’s green leader. This commitment has taken the form of a three-part strategy: green campus operations, educating tomorrow’s green workforce and deploying research through enterprise-based solutions.

Most recently, in July, the university announced it had created a new School of Global Environmental Sustainability to streamline all environmental courses and programs under one umbrella, ensuring that the university is adequately preparing students for the new energy economy. The university also formed the Clean Energy Supercluster as a way to more quickly commercialize innovations and get them into the marketplace.