Xcel Energy proposes shuttering 2 Colorado coal plants
- Xcel Energy and a diverse group of stakeholders in Colorado have reached an agreement that calls for the early retirement of two coal plants in the southern part of the state, and the potential for $2.5 billion in rural clean energy investments.
- Specifically, the plan calls for shutting down 660 MW of two coal-fired generation units at the Comanche Generating Station. Unit 1 would be mothballed at the end of 2022, and Unit 2 by the end of 2025. A third unit will remain operating.
- Xcel will also issue a competitive request for proposals for up to 1,000 MW of wind, up to 700 MW of solar, and up to 700 MW of natural gas and/or storage.
Xcel officials say the agreement, which supports the utility's "Our Energy Future" campaign launched last year, could increase renewable energy's share in the company's generation portfolio to 55% by 2026, save customers money, and reduce carbon emissions.
The Colorado Public Utilities Commission still needs to approve the plan, but customer advocates hailed the potential to shutter more coal-fired plants.In addition to retiring two units at the Comanche plant, the plan also calls for construction of a new switching station for a southern Colorado transmission “energy resource zone,” designed to speed development of renewable generating resources in rural parts of the state.
No coal resource will be added as part of the RFP, Xcel said, and carbon emissions could be reduced by up to 60% by 2026, relative to 2005 levels.
Rick Gilliam, program director for Vote Solar, said in a statement the group was happy to see Xcel Energy's efforts "to close coal plants, reduce carbon emissions, and move Colorado closer to a future where anyone can choose clean energy."
Parties to the stipulation include Xcel, staff of the CPUC, the Colorado Office of Consumer Counsel, the Colorado Energy Office, the City of Boulder, and several other groups and companies.
The groups are asking regulators to approve the stipulation by the end of 2017.
The utility last year reached an agreement with solar interests in Colorado, launching a time-of-use rate pilot. The state gets about 22% of its energy from renewables, but according to Xcel it will surpass the state’s 30% renewable energy standard by 2020.
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