- Xcel Energy on Sept. 18 filed a proposal with the Colorado Public Utilities Commission to double the amount of renewable resources on its system and improve transmission infrastructure to boost reliability around the state. The plan includes investment of up to $15 billion by 2030, the utility said.
- The plan would end Xcel’s use of coal-fired generation by 2030 but also includes “a limited amount of new, strategically located and highly flexible natural gas combustion turbines,” Xcel said.
- The proposal “keeps costs low for customers,” Xcel said, adding about 2.3% annually to customer rates. Adjusted for inflation, the utility expects average residential bills in 2030 to be about $10 more than they are today.
Colorado wants utilities to be delivering 100% renewable energy by 2040, and Xcel’s plan has support from the state’s governor.
“Increasing use of low-cost renewable energy sources and energy storage will save Coloradans money and move the state closer to achieving our clean energy goals,” Gov. Jared Polis, D, said in a statement. “I applaud Xcel Energy for their commitment.”
Xcel’s proposal would add 3,400 MW of wind resources, almost 2,000 MW of solar, and 1,170 MW of storage, and would reduce carbon emissions more than 80% by 2030, relative to 2005 levels. It also includes 628 MW of new gas capacity.
The utility told regulators the resources are necessary to replace more than 1,800 MW of dispatchable capacity that is retiring, “and does it in a way that capitalizes on the new financial federal support for renewable generation for the benefit of our customers.”
The plan “delivers significantly more wind, solar, and storage to our system, along with sustainable biomass and strategically necessary amounts of natural gas resources,” Robert Kenney, president of Xcel Energy’s Colorado operations, said in a statement.
Xcel plans to add 19 MW of biomass capacity at the Hayden Generating Station “to support the local community and workforce as we fully retire all Hayden coal units by the end of 2028.” The biomass generator will utilize “forest waste from fire prevention activities and Rocky Mountain pine beetle-kill wood as a sustainable biofuel,” the utility said.
Xcel said the “new, strategically located and highly flexible natural gas combustion turbines” are essentially “insurance policies.”
“The gas units will run only when system conditions, customer demand or renewable generation requires them — and will not have a significant impact on the overall emissions from our system,” the utility said in a fact sheet about its clean energy proposal.
Xcel said it anticipates Colorado regulators will make a decision on its proposal late this year.