Let’s Take a Look: PRPA’s Rawhide Energy Station

Platte River Power Authority - Rawhide Energy Station

Just 26 miles outside of Fort Collins, Platte River Power Authority’s Rawhide Energy Station is located on 4,560 acres of land.  That’s just shy of a marathon away.  Lace up your sneakers and let’s take a tour!

There are seven generating units located at Rawhide:

  • Rawhide Unit One: A 280 megawatt generator fueled by low-sulfur coal from the Antelope Mine located in Wyoming’s Powder River Basin
  • Rawhide Units A, B, C, D: Four 65 megawatt single-cycle natural gas-fired generators
  • Rawhide Unit F: A 128 megawatt single-cycle natural gas-fired generator
  • Rawhide Flats Solar: A 30 MW solar facility

Why is Rawhide so great?  First of all, even though Rawhide’s roots are as a coal power plant, Platte River Power Authority has always taken steps to lessen the site’s environmental footprint. Developing environmentally responsible energy has always been part of a long standing promise that PRPA has made to its partner communities to improve the way people use and think about energy. That’s why they’ve added Rawhide Flats Solar this year. The 185-acre facility will provide solar energy production for up to 8,000 homes, or approximately 2% of the energy used in PRPA’s partner communities.

Platte River also owns and manages two herds of American bison on the Rawhide site.  And that’s no bull.  According to PRPA’s website, “These impressive animals demonstrate that wildlife can coexist in harmony with responsibly operated power generation facilities.” It’s a comment that was made decades ago and has helped guide PRPA through the years. In addition to the free-range herds, Rawhide takes its eco embrace even further with the use of the Hamilton Reservoir instead of cooling towers. The reservoir provides a haven for wildlife and migratory birds and has been the site for the annual bird count sponsored by the National Audubon Society since 1986.

Did you know Rawhide Energy Station’s coal-fired unit is one of the most efficient in the western US?  And, it also ranks among the top 10 units with the lowest criteria pollutant emissions.  Due to Rawhide’s state-of-the-art air quality control systems, the plant’s emissions remain significantly less than state and federal air quality permits allow. In fact, Rawhide Unit One is nationally-recognized as one of the cleanest coal-fired power plants in the United States in terms of sulfur dioxide and nitrogen oxide emissions.

Platte River is committed to assisting Fort Collins and the other owner cities to meet their goals. For Fort Collins, this has included an important collaboration in our climate action planning, including the addition of renewable resources such as wind and solar to our power generation mix. With the addition of 30 MW of solar being installed at Rawhide this fall, PRPA is continuing that commitment.

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