Xcel Energy, the largest electric utility in Colorado, wants to make renewable resources its largest source of power by 2026.
Under Xcel’s newest proposal, wind, hydro and solar power would grow to make up 55 percent of its energy production in Colorado by 2026. Currently, renewable sources make up about 29 percent of its portfolio here.
The plan could lead to “$2.5 billion in clean energy investments in rural Colorado,” according to the company. The proposal, announced today, also would shut down two coal power units in Pueblo over the next eight years.
The shutdown of those coal units would take about 660 megawatts off the grid and would have obvious economic impacts in the surrounding community, including the potential loss of 90 jobs. Xcel predicts that coal will be reduced from 46 percent to 23 percent of its energy production in Colorado.
Meanwhile, Xcel says that it is planning to add up to 1,000 megawatts of wind power and 700 megawatts of solar power to its Colorado grid. The proposal also would allow for up to 700 megawatts of natural gas power. The company will solicit bids in the near future to start planning those potential new energy sources.
Overall, the plan could reduce Xcel’s carbon emissions by 60 percent compared to 2005 levels, according to Xcel.
The company says it’s moving now to take advantage of lower clean energy prices and current tax incentives. This stuff is strictly regulated by the state, so Xcel needs the approval of the Colorado Public Utilities Commission to embark on this plan.
And the overall implementation of this decade-long plan, of course, will depend on economics, government approval and more.