Plan includes gas generation capacity additions to be purchased, not built

From Platts

Plan includes 11 projects, 2,221 MW

PPAs to be signed for 5 solar, 3 wind projects

The Colorado Public Utilities Commission on Monday gave a preliminary nod to Xcel Energy’s $2.5 billion Colorado Energy Plan, which calls for phasing out 660 MW of coal-fired capacity, acquisition of two gas-fired facilities and installation of 1,000 MW of wind, 700 MW of solar and 275 MW of battery storage, all by 2022.

The PUC is expected to release a written order September 4 that will confirm its findings at the August 27 hearing. Any intervenors who oppose the plan will have 20 business days to file objections.

“The Colorado Energy Plan Portfolio is a transformative plan that delivers on our vision of long-term, low-cost clean renewable energy for our customers, stimulating economic development in rural Colorado, and substantially reducing our carbon emissions,” said Alice Jackson, president of Xcel Energy–Colorado, in a statement released Tuesday.

The plan involves 11 projects that will be located in eight Colorado counties with total combined capacity of 2,221 MW. Three of the projects will either be built and owned or acquired by Xcel, while eight of the projects will involve power purchase agreements.

The terms of the winning bids on wind and solar projects from a November 2017 solicitation have not yet been negotiated, a company spokesman said Tuesday, with negotiations expected to extend into 2019.

Work on the plan will be effectively kicked-off with the renegotiation of a PPA for power supply from an existing 162 MW wind farm located in the southeast part of the state. According to Xcel’s schedule of events, that PPA is due to be renewed by February 2019.

Thereafter, the company expects to sign PPAs with two wind farms with a total capacity of 469 MW that it says will become commercial in December 2020. One of these wind farms will be located in the northeast of the state, the other southeast of Denver.

Under the plan, Xcel will build and own a 500 MW wind farm in the eastern part of the state, which is also expected to become operational in December 2020.

The company is expecting to bring online in October the 600 MW Rush Creek wind facility that is located in the same region but which is not part of the Colorado plan.


Xcel is planning to sign PPAs with three solar plus storage projects that it says should come online by December 2022.

One of those utility-scale facilities will be located east of Boulder and have 110 MW of capacity with a 50 MW energy storage battery system attached.

The other two facilities will be built east of Pueblo; one will have 250 MW of capacity with a 125 MW battery system, the other will have 200 MW of capacity and a 100 MW battery system.

To be sited near that complex is a 75 MW solar PV generating facility that will not have storage batteries. Xcel will negotiate a PPA with a 72 MW solar facility without batteries that will be located east of Aspen, and that project is slated to come online by December 2022.


When Xcel began drafting its Colorado Plan, it effectively agreed to close some of its coal-fired capacity and not build any new natural-gas fired capacity.

Under the plan that Xcel expects to become official next week, the company will not build gas-fired capacity, but rather buy 383 MW of existing capacity.

For that acquisition, the company is targeting a 301 MW gas-fired unit located near the town of Pawnee, and a 82 MW facility near Boulder. The company has said it expects to complete the acquisition of the two facilities by May 2022.


By the end of 2022, Xcel has said it expects to have closed 330 MW Unit 1 of its Comanche coal-fired facility located just south of Pueblo. The 330 MW Unit 2 is slated to close by the end of 2025.

A company spokesman on Tuesday noted that the 750 MW Comanche Unit 3, which entered service in 2010, will be retained, as will the two units of the 446 MW Hayden coal-fired facility and the single-unit, 505 MW Pawnee coal-fired facility.

By 2025, Xcel will own four coal-fired units with combined capacity of 1,701 MW.


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