Today, Western Resource Advocates President Jon Goldin-Dubois commended Xcel Energy and the Colorado Public Utilities Commission on the approval of Xcel’s plan to retire two aging coal-fired power plants in Pueblo. Xcel’s Colorado Energy Plan will dramatically cut carbon pollution, create hundreds of jobs, and will lead to the investment of over $2 billion in Colorado’s rural economy, including wind, solar and the nation’s largest utility battery storage project.
Western Resource Advocates led the advocacy for the transition, encouraging Xcel Energy to present the plan to the Colorado Public Utilities Commission, spearheading a coalition of like-minded groups, and helping make the case for final approval.
Goldin-Dubois issued the following statement:
“All Coloradans deserve access to affordable clean energy, and the Colorado Energy Plan is the perfect example of how investing in clean energy protects our health and our environment and at the same time, strengthens our economy. The plan is a huge milestone in Colorado’s transition to clean energy that will dramatically reduce greenhouse gas pollution, save customers money, create jobs, and drive $2.5 billion of investment in the economic future of eight mostly rural Colorado counties.
“Colorado’s bold decision to invest in clean energy and a healthier future for the next generation shows what the public – and the marketplace – already know, that conservation and clean energy go hand in hand with a growing, healthy economy.”
The plan to move away from expensive, polluting coal power has tremendous benefits for Coloradans:
- Fighting climate change: The Colorado Energy Plan will avoid 4 million tons of greenhouse gas pollution each year. Xcel’s emissions of carbon dioxide pollution will be 60 percent lower in 2026 than in 2005.
- Cleaner air for Coloradans: The Colorado Energy Plan will reduce SO2 and NOx pollution by about 90 percent by 2026. There will also be reductions in other harmful pollutants, including mercury and particulate matter (dust).
- Lower costs: Colorado consumers will save over $200 million on their energy bills over the next 20 years.
- Economic investments: The Colorado Energy Plan will create 500 jobs in the first five years, generating an additional $44 million in local gross domestic product during the same time, and an average of $10 million from 2018 to 2040.
- Investment in Pueblo County: The plan calls for 525 MW of new solar projects with 225 MW of battery storage, as well as a new transmission switching station all within Pueblo County, which has served as the host community for the Comanche coal units since the 1970s. Taken together, these investments will create a net benefit for the county’s tax base and help to position Pueblo County as an emerging renewable energy hub for the state and the region.
“We commend Xcel Energy’s leadership and willingness to invest in clean energy. We also note the important contributions from our partners in the conservation community, consumer advocates, and the Colorado Public Utilities Commission and their staff, which thoroughly vetted and examined this plan and a variety of alternatives. This decision shows that it is possible to dramatically and quickly reduce carbon emissions in the West, and today, Colorado has taken a strong step toward that goal.”