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Xcel Energy to retire 660MW coal-fired power units in Colorado

EBR Staff Writer Published 30 August 2017

US electric utility Xcel Energy has revealed its plans to retire two coal-fired generation units with a combined capacity of 660MW in Pueblo, Colorado.

The coal-fired plants are part of the 1.4GW Comanche Generating Station. Xcel Energy, which supplies power to eight Western and Midwestern states, says that the 325MW Unit 1 of the Comanche Generating Station will be retired by end-2022, while the 335MW unit will be taken out of service by the end of 2025.

The third unit of 750MW capacity of the Comanche Generating Station will not be impacted by the retirement of Unit 1 and 2 and will continue to be operated.

To offset the impact from the retirement of coal-fired generation units, Xcel Energy will be taking up new generation projects that include a a mix of utility and independent power producer (IPP) owned facilities. 

As part of Phase II of the 2016 Electric Resource Plan, the company will issue a request for proposal (RFP) to add of up to 2.4GW of renewable energy comprising 1GW of wind, 700MW of solar and 700MW of natural gas and/or storage.

Going by the plan, Xcel Energy will not add any coal resource to the RFP with an aim to reduce carbon emission to up to 60% by 2026 compared to the levels recorded in 2005.

The utility is also seeking an approval from the Colorado Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) to approve a plan dubbed Colorado Energy Plan that could pave way for a $2.5bn investment in clean energy in rural Colorado.

Xcel Energy – Colorado president David Eves said: “We have a responsibility to meet our customers’ energy needs. Our customers expect us to provide low-cost power and increase the use of cleaner energy.

“As the state’s largest utility, it is important to us that we also support rural areas in Colorado, and this proposal’s investment will accomplish this goal.”

Eves concluded that the proposal has the potential to give a 55% increase to renewable energy by 2026 in the state while saving money for customers and reducing carbon and other emissions by a long way.