Xcel files project to close coal-fired power plant in Pueblo
DENVER – Xcel Energy has proposed a deal in principle to shut down Colorado’s largest coal-fired power plant by 2035, well ahead of its initial phase-out date of 2070, as regulators examine how the largest utility operating in the The state can reduce its carbon emissions.
Minneapolis-based Xcel Energy filed an agreement with the state on its Comanche 3 coal unit at the Comanche power plant in Pueblo on Wednesday, Colorado Public Radio reported.
Comanche 3 has faced operational, equipment and financial issues that have led to more than 700 days of unscheduled shutdowns since 2010 and higher than expected electricity costs, the Colorado Public Utilities Commission said in a statement. report released earlier this year.
If approved, Xcel’s shutdown plan could reduce utility carbon dioxide emissions in Colorado by nearly 90% this decade, CPR reported.
The $ 1.3 billion unit was commissioned in 2010 but suffered from poor maintenance and oversight, with electricity costs up to 45% higher than expected, according to state report. Comanche 3 was also Colorado’s largest source of greenhouse gas emissions in 2018, according to data from the United States Environmental Protection Agency.
The plan calls for Comanche 3 to operate at half capacity by 2025 and one-third of its capacity by 2029.
Earlier this year, Xcel Energy proposed to advance the shutdown of Comanche 3 until 2040, as part of an $ 8 billion plan that included new renewable energy and power transmission projects, CPR said. Xcel has sought to negotiate with a group or groups comprising environmentalists before tabling its plan, which is supported by state and local governments, including the city and county of Pueblo.
“We believe this achieves our primary goals,” said Keith Hay, director of policy for the Colorado Energy Office. “It achieves greenhouse gas emission reductions sooner, it achieves more greenhouse gas emission reductions by 2030, but just as importantly, it keeps the city and the community safe. Pueblo County. “
Xcel paid nearly $ 31 million in property taxes in Pueblo last year, and according to the proposal it would continue to pay taxes until 2040, either directly or from alternative power generation. .
Environmental groups did not accept the proposal, arguing that it does not go far enough to reduce emissions. The utilities commission plans to begin hearings on the plan in December and is expected to make a decision early next year.