Xcel strikes grid modernization settlement with Colorado stakeholders
- Xcel's Colorado subsidiary filed a settlement agreement with state, federal and private stakeholders as part its "Our Energy Future" initiative that would aid its efforts to monitor and control its distribution system.
- The utility submitted a $562 million proposal last year to upgrade its grid system and security efforts, including an advanced meter infrastructure rollout and a voltage optimization system it says would help cut energy consumption by 2% and reduce emissions by 360,000 tons annually.
- If the settlement is approved, the grid upgrades would be implemented between 2019 to 2024, according to the Denver Business Journal.
Xcel's Advanced Grid Intelligence and Security (AGIS) proposal includes tools that enable consumers to control their energy usage, and allow the utility to collect data and control the two-way flow of energy from distributed energy resources.
Those efforts follow a trend of large utilities upgrading distribution management systems in response to rising consumer demand for grid edge technologies, like rooftop solar and energy storage. For instance, American Electric Power and Austin Energy announced new distributed energy management platforms last year.
For Xcel, upgrading the grid comes as it embarks on its efforts to bolster the grid in preparation for higher penetrations of renewable energy. The utility already began significant efforts to expand its renewable energy portfolio, particularly in its wind investments. In March, Xcel announced it plans to add 1.5 GW of wind through power purchase agreements and utility-owned projects in Minnesota.
The utility also signed a landmark agreement with solar interests in Colorado last year that will continue the growth of rooftop solar, and also set in motion a time-of-use rate pilot. In addition to these efforts, the company is undertaking some storage pilot projects.
The Colorado Public Utilities Commission is set to consider the agreement May 16.
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