New hybrid energy park to combine clean fossil fuels, renewables in Colorado

Source: Harrison Resource Corporation

Weld County Commissioners have unanimously approved Harrison Resource Corporation’s plans for development of Niobrara Energy Park, a 640-acre project that will integrate natural gas and renewable energy generation facilities, including solar and wind energy,  with data centers and energy research. With zoning approvals in place, the greenfield project is now process-shovel-ready. 

Commissioner Dave Long said of the park, “I’ve said in the past that Weld County is the energy center of Colorado, but this may make Weld County the energy center of the West, if not the nation.” Niobrara Energy Park has received widespread support from researchers, government officials, and many others in the energy industry, including Dag Nummedal, director of the Colorado Energy Research Institute at the Colorado School of Mines, and David Hiller, executive director of the Colorado Renewable Energy Collaboratory. 

Nummedal stated in a letter of support, “Your proposed energy park could become a national center of learning in how to best manage the hybrid fossil plus renewable energy infrastructure.” He added that the park concept “moves beyond anything planned elsewhere in the U.S.” due to its planned onsite energy storage facilities. 

“Our next step is working with the various companies, institutions, and other organizations that have expressed enthusiasm for Niobrara Energy Park,” said Craig Harrison, president of Harrison Resource. “This area of Colorado is already home to numerous clean energy initiatives, projects and businesses, and we are excited to plan one of the country’s first hybrid energy parks here.” 

Niobrara Energy Park will use on and offsite renewable energy and clean natural gas from the Niobrara, one of the hottest oil and gas shale areas in the country. The park will have a research facility for scientists, engineers, institutions, and others to research energy systems integration, renewable energy, smart grid and energy storage. The proposal also includes plans for a gas gathering and processing facility, a gas-fired electric power plant, a 200-acre solar farm, and a mega data center, which would take advantage of the energy park’s remote location and natural cooling during certain times of the year.
“Niobrara Energy Park is situated in the perfect location, strategically between gas and electric hubs, allowing for stabilization of grid energy and peak demands,” said Harrison. “Upstream from the park is the Cheyenne hub, which delivers five to seven percent of the daily flow of gas in America, as well as intermittent alternative energy sources, including hydro and wind. Downstream from the park, we have the largest electric trading hub in Colorado. By combining alternative energy generation and a new natural gas firming power plant, you can level the flow of all of these energy sources. With the redundant alternative and clean fossil electricity, along with the connection to the adjoining national fiber highway, this is the ideal site for a mega data center of national importance.” Altogether, the park has more than 40 zoning-approved energy land uses, Harrison added. 

Harrison expressed excitement about collaborating with forward-thinking people and organizations to bring the park to fruition. “It will be interesting to watch the evolution of this park—will we develop it one piece at a time, or will one party step forward to join forces with us to build Niobrara Energy Park as a single, comprehensive project? Either way, I’m very excited to bring such an important and historic center to Colorado.” 

Harrison Resource Corporation is a natural resource firm based in Loveland, Colorado. Founded in 1980, the company has closed 750 transactions worth $625 million.

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