Xcel Energy seeks to double renewable energy on system while investing $15B into Colorado operations

Published on September 25, 2023 by Chris Galford

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In a proposal submitted to the Colorado Public Utilities Commission last week, Xcel Energy–Colorado proposed a Clean Energy Plan that would invest up to $15 billion throughout the state to double the amount of renewable energy on-system.

The first phase of the plan was approved in 2022, keying the utility up for a push to cut carbon emissions more than 80 percent by 2030 and retiring coal use, while adding 6,500 MW of renewable energy to the grid.

“We are excited about the plan we’ve brought before to the Commission, as it delivers significantly more wind, solar, and storage to our system, along with sustainable biomass and strategically necessary amounts of natural gas resources,” Robert Kenney, president of Xcel Energy—Colorado, said. “We listened to our stakeholders who want a smart, affordable, sustainable transition to cleaner energy while providing a just transition for impacted communities and employees. This plan relies on proven technologies, while using emerging technologies like battery storage to provide a balanced mix of resources that meet Colorado’s energy goals.”

Between 2017 and 2021, wind farms on the Xcel Energy system in Colorado saved customers approximately $700 million through tax credits and in avoided fuel costs. They also represented a key allure of wind and solar generation: electricity without fuel costs. Pair that with $10 billion in Inflation Reduction Act tax credits the company seeks to capitalize on this time around to reduce costs, and there is a lot on the line. It would also be the largest clean energy portfolio built in Colorado to date, inclusive of 22 new energy projects of which Xcel Energy would own about two-thirds.

Of the proposed 6,500 MW of new resources, 3,400 MW would come from wind, 1,970 MW from solar, 1,170 MW from storage capabilities and 19 MW from biomass operations. Some 630 MW of natural gas resources would be strategically located though to support reliability statewide.

“Increasing use of low-cost renewable energy sources and energy storage will save Coloradans money and move the state closer to achieving our clean energy goals. I applaud Xcel Energy for their commitment to reducing emissions, delivering better value for consumers, and protecting the future of our state,” Colorado Gov. Jared Polis said.
Xcel added that the plan would produce an average annual rate impact of 2.3 percent – or about $10 more on monthly bills as of 2030.