Colorado backs Xcel Energy resource plan heavy on wind, solar and gas

Xcel Energy (NYSE:XEL) has won Colorado Public Utilities Commission (PUC) approval for a resource plan that moves the company toward less-emitting generation through 2018 and beyond.

“This is an historic moment,” PUC Chairman Joshua Epel said Dec 10. “Colorado has been moving toward a lower-carbon future, and with the lower wind and solar costs, we have an opportunity to move that future forward.”

The utility has touted the success of its all source solicitation in September, which evidently brought in cheaper-than-expected proposals for solar photovoltaic generation.

Once the written decision is issued, Xcel Energy will negotiate contracts to acquire the selected resources, the PUC said. Public Service Co. of Colorado is Xcel Energy’s regulated utility subsidiary in the state.

The PUC approved a resource portfolio for Xcel Energy that includes:

• The previously-authorized acquisition of 450 MW of wind resources.

• Continued operation of the Cherokee 4 unit on natural gas.

• Retirement of Arapahoe 4 coal unit. Arapahoe is a 1950s vintage unit that burns sub-bituminous coal.

• Entering into purchase power agreements with two natural-gas fired facilities owned and operated by independent power producers for a total of 317 MW of gas-fired capacity.

• The acquisition of 170 MW of photovoltaic (PV) solar capacity.

The decision allows the company to acquire capacity beyond the level required within the resource acquisition period of the plan (through 2018) due to the low cost of bids received and the need for additional capacity beginning in 2019.

About Wayne Barber 4201 Articles
Wayne Barber, Chief Analyst for the GenerationHub, has been covering power generation, energy and natural resources issues at national publications for more than 20 years. Prior to joining PennWell he was editor of Generation Markets Week at SNL Financial for nine years. He has also worked as a business journalist at both McGraw-Hill and Financial Times Energy. Wayne also worked as a newspaper reporter for several years. During his career has visited nuclear reactors and coal mines as well as coal and natural gas power plants. Wayne can be reached at wayneb@pennwell.com.