Xcel Energy Colorado announces plan to drastically reduce carbon emissions by 2030

Published on February 26, 2021 by Dave Kovaleski

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Xcel Energy Colorado is planning to reduce carbon emissions by 85 percent by 2030, according to its Clean Energy Plan, which is due to be released soon.

The plan calls for doubling the amount of renewable energy and battery storage on the Xcel Energy Colorado system. Specifically, it calls for approximately 5,500 MW of new wind, solar generation, and battery storage. It also lays out a plan to reduce coal plant operations by 2030 and retires or repowers all remaining coal units by 2040. No layoffs are anticipated at any of the coal plants affected by the plan. Company and union leaders plan to manage this transition through attrition, retirement, and retraining of employees.

In addition, the plan calls for building upon energy-efficiency programs, distributed generation opportunities, and demand response options to manage energy load. Among other initiatives, the plan also includes initiatives to improve the transmission infrastructure and ensure grid stability and reliability.

“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,” Ben Fowke, chairman and CEO at Xcel Energy, said. “We are committed to working with our employees and the communities we serve as we make significant strides leading the nation’s and Colorado’s ambitious clean energy transition while also ensuring reliability and affordability for our customers.”

Officials said the plan is estimated to result in customer bill increases at or below the rate of inflation. But officials point out that Xcel Energy’s Colorado customers’ electricity bills are already among the lowest in the nation.

The plan will go before the Colorado Public Utilities Commission for approval in March.

“We’re excited to lead the way in Colorado’s clean energy transformation and reduce carbon emissions approximately 85% by 2030,’’ Alice Jackson, president of Xcel Energy Colorado, said. “This ambitious agenda delivers clean, reliable, affordable energy for our Colorado customers and communities and brings us closer to our vision of delivering 100% carbon-free electricity to customers by 2050.”

Colorado Gov. Jared Polis said the plan advances his administration’s Greenhouse Gas Reduction roadmap and its goal of achieving 100 percent renewable energy by 2040.