Colorado Billionaire Battles Utilities Over Power Line On His Ranch


In Colorado, hedge fund billionaire Louis Moore Bacon is fighting a new transmission line proposed by two utilities: shareholder-owned Xcel Energy, and Tri-State Generation and Transmission Association, a wholesale electricity supplier.

Bacon, the founder of Moore Capital Management LLC and owner of the 171,400-acre Trinchera ranch in south central Colorado, across which the power line will march, is apparently one of the great NIMBYists, standing head and shoulders alongside the likes of now-deceased former Massachusetts Senator Ted Kennedy, who did more than his part to block the Cape Wind farm because it blocked his view from the Kennedy Compound along Nantucket Sound.

Bacon calls his ranch a “state and national treasure,” but in fact it is his treasure, containing Colorado’s third highest mountain peak (Mount Blanca) and enough wilderness to house a herd of buffalo.

Xcel and Tri-State reportedly want the 140-mile transmission line because it enables delivery of renewables (like solar and wind) to far-flung portions of the state. Both utilities, and some of the ranchers and farmers in San Luis Valley, see the project as ensuring the reliability of the Valley’s electricity supply. County commissioners, in Alamosa, Saguache and Rio Grande counties, see an additional benefit: the project will nudge the area’s economic development.

Robert Kennedy Jr. – this one former President JFK’s nephew and an environmentalist in his own right – is apparently in Bacon’s camp when it comes to fighting the power line. Bacon himself is fighting it by demanding a more stringent environmental impact review, or EIR. He is supported by “Solar Working Group,” which wants lawmakers to explore alternative power line routes, and Bacon’s own $100,000 investment (to Denver PR firm, GBSM) is likely to insure that happens.

Still, the question remains, can Bacon win? Or should he? Most don’t, against powerhouse utilities like Xcel. But then again, Xcel has never gone up against someone as rich or clever as Bacon. And if the line really will support clean, renewable solar energy delivery from the Valley (reportedly the best place in Colorado for solar), why shouldn’t it run where it’s most needed?

Let us know what you think.

About Author

  • John L Coulson

    Sounds like a repeating tale, next ready for a movie of the week! Big rich boys fighting over ugly yet somewhat necessary toys. But are all these inefficient towers and wires really necessary to deliver the so called clean energy they claim to promote? It seems the “Powers that Be” still have a strangle hold on our power and just BC Hydro where I live today, what they decide you pay, you pay till death do you part! Green energy pumped through the grid is still owned and controlled by those who own the grid. Our company, The Clean Legacy Group produces a family of alternative energy products that relieves one from the grid and a monthly, controlled and regulated energy bill. If one chooses an upgraded Clean Legacy system you can actually make money from the grid and that is why I believe there is little to no funding for projects like ours but seemingly trillions for grid complimentary systems. At Clean Legacy we are working towards one goal – “If everyone owned devices like that which we are developing and used those devices to feed their excess energy back to the grid (for a profit I might add!) then collectively we believe consumers could power their own industrial machine, thus driving prices down and quality of life up!” However, current grid giants like BC Hydro will have none of that! Yet! Hopefully some disgruntled billionaire will recognize the I.P. value of the many innovations that we and others like us have to offer and oh yeah – Our Eco friendly green machines look real cool and don’t disrupt your view! JLC –

  • Randall Witte

    I totally agree with Mr. Bacon’s outlook. There is NO WAY that across his chunk of property is the ONLY way that power can be transmitted. It is obviously the CHEAPEST way, which is why the utilities want to go there.

    In America, if you want to use any part of someone’s land (above, on or under), you have to get permission and likely pay for that use. If that person does not want you there, and you have other options, then you go elsewhere. If that means the it costs more, if it has enough value, you pay. If it is not worth any other path, it does not happen.

  • Janet Palma

    I think that only the very rich with scads of money and lots of land can get away with this sort of arrogance. Sorry, but if you are the small, common person with a single property and the city/county/state/whomever important wants to take your land for “beneficial use”, they can just use eminent domain and poof you’re gone!