Xcel Energy plans to retire its 1,067-MW coal-fired Tolk power plant in northwest Texas in 2028, four years earlier than planned, a move that would speed up the utility company’s exit from coal by about three years.
With planned power plant retirements in other states, Xcel will shutter its entire coal-fired generating fleet in its eight-state service territory before 2031, the Minneapolis-based company said Monday. Xcel previously aimed to be coal-free by 2034.
Xcel owned about 6,500 MW of coal-fired generation at the end of last year, according to its most recent annual report.
Xcel aims to cut its carbon emissions from its power plant fleet by 80% by 2030 and produce only carbon-free electricity by 2050.
Retiring the Tolk power plant earlier than planned will save Xcel’s customers in Texas and New Mexico more than $70 million, the utility company estimated.
Changes in federal laws make replacing coal generation with cleaner energy sources more cost-effective, Xcel said.
The Inflation Reduction Act’s production tax credits reduce the levelized cost of solar projects by 25% to 40% and wind projects by 50% to 60%, Xcel officials said in an Oct. 27 earnings presentation.
Xcel expects it will replace its coal-fired generation with about 1,900 MW of renewable energy in its New Mexico and Texas service territory as well as about 9,800 MW in the rest of its service territory, which includes Colorado, Michigan, Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota and Wisconsin, according to the presentation.
Xcel intends to propose to New Mexico regulators this month to accelerate Tolk’s retirement date, which was previously expected to be in the 2032-34 timeframe, the company said. It will make the same request with the Public Utility Commission of Texas in February.
Xcel said it plans to continue operating synchronous condensers at the Tolk site after 2028 to help ensure the stability of the regional grid.