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Industry News

Xcel Energy Files "Colorado Energy Plan" to Accelerate New Renewable Generation

LCG, August 30, 2017--Xcel Energy yesterday filed a stipulation, with a broad coalition of 14 groups, that requested the Colorado Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) to approve a process that could lead to $2.5 billion in clean energy investments in rural Colorado, if there is no additional cost to the company's electricity. Parties to the stipulation seek approval from the CPUC by the end of 2017, which would allow the company to bring forth a portfolio that includes the retirement of coal units and replacement of generation capacity customers.

Xcel Energy's proposal includes consideration of the early retirement of two, coal-fired generation units, with a combined electric generating capacity of 660 MW at the Comanche Generating Station, located in Pueblo, Colorado. As proposed, Unit #1 would be retired by the end of 2022, and Unit #2 no later than the end of 2025. Unit #3 would remain in service. Under the proposal, Xcel Energy estimates carbon emissions could be reduced by up to 60 percent by 2026 relative to 2005 levels.

The "Colorado Energy Plan" proposes an electric generating portfolio to augment the company's current 2016 Electric Resource Plan (ERP). The president of Xcel Energy - Colorado stated, "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. The proposal could increase renewable energy to 55 percent by 2026, save customers money, and dramatically reduce carbon and other emissions."

Xcel Energy plans for new generation projects to be identified and selected through a soon-to-be initiated competitive acquisition process that targets a mix of utility and independent power producer (IPP) owned facilities, with Xcel Energy having a targeted investment of 50 percent of the renewable generation, and 75 percent of the natural gas-fired, storage, or renewable with storage generation resources in the portfolio. Xcel Energy estimates up to 1,000 MW of new wind, and up to 700 MW of both solar and natural gas electric generating capacities. No coal resources will be added.

Xcel Energy plans to issue the all-source "request for proposal" (RFP) in the next several days and would anticipate filing a recommended portfolio with the CPUC in the first quarter of 2018. A final decision on the recommended portfolio by the CPUC is expected in the summer of 2018.

The Colorado Energy Plan also includes the construction of a new switching station for a southern Colorado transmission "energy resource zone," to help foster the further development of renewable generating resources in rural Colorado.

Parties to the stipulation include Xcel Energy's Public Service Company of Colorado; the Colorado Public Utilities Commission staff; the Colorado Office of Consumer Counsel (OCC); the Colorado Energy Office (CEO); the City of Boulder; Climax Molybdenum Company; the Colorado Energy Consumers Group (CEC); the Colorado Independent Energy Association (CIEA); the Colorado Solar Energy Industries Association (COSEIA), Interwest Energy Alliance; Invenergy LLC; Southwest Generation Operating Company, LLC; Rocky Mountain Environmental Labor Coalition and Colorado Building and Construction Trades Council, AFL-CIO (jointly, RMELC/CBCTC); Vote Solar; and Western Resource Advocates (WRA).

The Colorado Independent Energy Association (CIEA) attorney stated,
"The Colorado Energy Plan is an important step to implement the goals of Governor Hickenlooper's recent executive order supporting Colorado's clean energy transition."

"We hope this agreement will make more room for affordable clean solar energy on the Xcel Energy system, while protecting the rights of customers to generate their own solar energy and receive fair credit," said the executive director of the Colorado Solar Energy Industries Association (COSEIA).
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