Those of us who live in the western U.S. are already feeling the effects of climate change. With increased fires, flooding, heat waves, and other catastrophic impacts, we know the time is now to take action to reduce greenhouse gas pollution. And today, we’ve taken a huge step forward in Colorado.
Western Resource Advocates, Xcel Energy, and other diverse stakeholders asked the Colorado Public Utilities Commission (PUC) to consider a “Colorado Energy Plan” which could reshape how energy is produced by Colorado’s largest utility and significantly reduce Colorado’s greenhouse gas pollution.
If approved the proposed the Colorado Energy Plan would:
- Lower customers’ bills by retiring two older, less efficient coal-fired power plants (Comanche 1 and 2 by Xcel in Pueblo, CO) and replacing them with up to 2 gigawatts of new, low-cost advanced energy resources like wind, solar, and energy storage;
- Create new rural economic opportunities by building clean energy facilities, creating billions of dollars of direct and indirect investments in rural Colorado including new jobs, lease payments for local landowners, and other benefits to local businesses and workers.
- Reduce carbon pollution and improve air quality, by cutting 3-4 million tons of greenhouse gas emissions each year, and helping achieve the goals of Governor Hickenlooper’s executive order on climate.
Today’s filing was supported by a diverse set of stakeholders, including Western Resource Advocates and partner conservation organizations, renewable energy developers, consumer advocates, and local businesses. This marks the beginning of a conversation among Coloradans to chart a new course for our energy production and to explore what the transition to cleaner, more affordable electricity could mean for our state. If the PUC decides to consider the proposed Colorado Energy Plan, it will make a final decision on whether to approve it in 2018.
Retiring old, dirty coal plants also creates an opportunity to replace that power with wind and solar resources that are eligible for bipartisan federal tax credits. As a result, making this transition today will reduce customers’ bills and keep our electricity rates low for years into the future. If approved by the PUC, the Colorado Energy Plan would increase the production of clean renewable energy, lower customers’ bills, improve our air quality, reduce greenhouse gas pollution, and create new economic opportunities in rural Colorado–all while maintaining the reliable electricity service we depend on.
Look for future updates from us that will help explain the Colorado Energy Plan and the process for moving it through the Colorado Public Utilities Commission. Sign up here to receive our email news and opportunities to get involved.