Colorado Developer Puts "World's Largest Planned Microgrid" on the Market

April 29, 2015
Colorado’s 662-MW Niobrara Energy Park, which calls itself the world’s largest planned microgrid, is now shovel-ready and seeking buyers.

Colorado’s 662-acre Niobrara Energy Park, which calls itself the world’s largest planned microgrid, is now shovel-ready and seeking buyers.

Cushman & Wakefield announced early Wednesday that it is acting as exclusive agent for the sale of the northern Colorado project, under development for five years by Colorado land and resouce broker, Craig Harrison.

Dubbed NED for short, the project  stands apart in the microgrid world because of its sheer size and complexity.

While most microgrids serve a handful of buildings, at best, and manage a couple of generation sources,  NED has secured permits for 52 data centers, a 200-MW gas-fired plant, a 50-MW solar farm, 50 MW of fuel cells, other energy sources, and a range of energy storage technologies: compressed air, batteries, fly wheel, thermal and hydrogen storage, super capacitators and super conductors.

“This opportunity is highly unique in its size, scale and scope,” said Jeffrey Cole of Cushman & Wakefield’s Irvine, California office. “We will be marketing this property to investors on a national and international basis, targeting everyone from data center investors, to users that would require cloud computing, to power company investors, telecom centers, local developers, green energy providers, and even certain Wall Street infrastructure funds.”

Track microgrid projects, large and small, by subscribing to our free Micogrid Knowledge Newsletter.

The developer envisions the microgrid managing retail power within the project’s borders and selling any excess power into the wholesale market. The electricity would transfer at the Ault substation, 22 miles to the south, and be sold at one of Colorado’s busiest interconnects.

“It’s an energy park, with the ability to provide its own microgrid,” said Cole. “The on-site energy sources include natural gas and a major electrical infrastructure, and plans call for a multitude of renewable energy sources. It also has its own water rights, as well as transcontinental fiber connection with access to 21 fiber carriers or providers.

The project includes within its borders triple 230-kV power lines with dual feed direction from four substations, triple natural gas lines, a fiber-optic backbone with diverse carriers and a private 100 million gallons per year water supply.

“With special approvals from the state and county in place, it is very rare to have a property of this size with zoning and energy sources already on-site,” Cole said.

NED is named after the Niobrara gas and oil shale formation in northeast Colorado. Niobrara also means running water — which has been found under the site.

The project is zoned for the 52 energy and data center uses, as well as Cloud data centers, energy-consuming manufacturing, natural gas power plants, solar, wind, and energy storage, with environmental waivers. Energy-related zoning includes up to 50 MW of solar, geothermal and wind, and unlimited energy storage, as well as up to 650 MW of natural gas plants and fuel cell power plants, and more, according to Cushman & Wakefield.

It is located near I-25 and US 85 between urban areas of Northern Colorado and Southern Wyoming.

“NED represents a unique opportunity to acquire a strategically located shovel-ready site with extraordinary energy and fiber infrastructure along with entitlements and zoning for a broad range of industrial and energy-related development,” said Jeff Cushman, executive managing director, Cushman & Wakefield. “It offers multiple revenue pathways for an investor along with speed to market. There is nothing else like it in the country.

About the Author

Elisa Wood | Editor-in-Chief

Elisa Wood is an award-winning writer and editor who specializes in the energy industry. She is chief editor and co-founder of Microgrid Knowledge and serves as co-host of the publication’s popular conference series. She also co-founded, where she continues to lead a team of energy writers who produce content for energy companies and advocacy organizations.

She has been writing about energy for more than two decades and is published widely. Her work can be found in prominent energy business journals as well as mainstream publications. She has been quoted by NPR, the Wall Street Journal and other notable media outlets.

“For an especially readable voice in the industry, the most consistent interpreter across these years has been the energy journalist Elisa Wood, whose Microgrid Knowledge (and conference) has aggregated more stories better than any other feed of its time,” wrote Malcolm McCullough, in the book, Downtime on the Microgrid, published by MIT Press in 2020.

Twitter: @ElisaWood

LinkedIn: Elisa Wood

Facebook:  Microgrids

Exploring the Potential of Community Microgrids Through Three Innovative Case Studies

April 8, 2024
Community microgrids represent a burgeoning solution to meet the energy needs of localized areas and regions. These microgrids are clusters of interconnected energy resources,...

Mgk Dcf Wp Cover2 2023 01 09 10 34 33

Data Center Microgrids: Planning for Your Microgrid

The energy grid is increasingly vulnerable to outages thanks to aging infrastructure and the growing impact of climate change. Traditionally, data centers have turned to uninterruptible...