Thursday, August 21, 2008

Xcel ditching 2 coal plants, going to solar (XEL)

From the Rocky Mountain News:

State regulators gave the go-ahead to Xcel Energy's plans for a green makeover: shutting down two coal-fired power plants in the state and building one of the world's largest utility-scale solar power plants.

After days of deliberations, the Colorado Public Utilities Commission approved Xcel's voluntary decision to shutter electricity generating stations in Denver and Grand Junction - making it the first utility in the nation to do so in order to reduce pollution emissions.

The commission also approved the utility's request for a 200-megawatt solar plant using concentrated solar technology that not only helps generate electricity from the sun, but also allows energy to be stored for later use.

The commission approved, too, Xcel's request to add 850 megawatts of wind energy to its system....MORE

From the Denver Business Journal:

Xcel takes unusual step to shut down coal power plants
State regulators have approved a plan by Xcel Energy Inc. to shut down two coal-fired power plants in Colorado, citing benefits to public health and concerns about carbon-dioxide emissions.

It’s the first time in the nation a utility has volunteered, and regulators have approved, a plan to shut down power plants because of CO2 emissions, which are linked to global warming....MORE

If memory serves, Xcel has the largest proportion of electricity produced from renewables of any major utility in the country and has had at least two months where wind generated power was priced lower at retail than coal-fired; In Colorado in 2005 and in Minnesota last month.