Xcel Energy Colorado has unveiled the scope of its upcoming Clean Energy Plan, which will deliver its customers an estimated 85% reduction in carbon dioxide emissions from 2005 levels by 2030.
The plan will result in greater reductions than required by Colorado law and will double renewable energy and battery storage on the Xcel Energy Colorado system, providing customers with electricity derived from approximately 80% renewable sources while maintaining affordable and reliable energy service.
“We have a long track record of successfully transitioning our plants to meet future energy needs and look forward to doing so in Colorado, a state with leaders who share our clean energy goals,” says Ben Fowke, chairman and CEO of Xcel Energy. “We are committed to working with our employees and the communities we serve while also ensuring reliability and affordability for our customers.”
In 2018, Xcel Energy says it became the first utility in the nation to announce a vision of a carbon-free electricity system by 2050. This announcement presents a balanced, diversified portfolio of energy sources to maintain reliability and affordability while supporting communities as the company works to meet Colorado’s carbon-reduction goals and evolving energy needs. Highlights of the plan include:
-Adds approximately 5,500 MW of new wind, solar generation and battery storage
-Significantly reduces coal plant operations by 2030 and retires or repowers all remaining coal units by 2040
-Building upon successful customer-focused energy-efficiency programs, distributed generation opportunities and demand response options to manage energy load
-Ensuring grid stability and reliability with flexible resources capable of operating around renewable resources as well as during times of extreme heat or cold
-Creating a workforce and community transition plan, building upon the utility’s experience leading clean energy transitions across its service area
-Evaluating transmission infrastructure in the state to improve the reliability and flexibility of the system and reduce the cost of the renewable energy additions contemplated by the plan
Xcel Energy’s Colorado customers’ electricity bills are already among the lowest in the nation – the new energy plan will continue to keep bills low. The plan is estimated to result in customer bill increases at or below the rate of inflation. No layoffs are anticipated at any of the coal plants affected by the plan. Company and union leaders are partnering to manage this transition through attrition, retirement and retraining of employees.
The plan will go before the Colorado Public Utilities Commission late next month.
Photo: Ben Fowke