Xcel’s Coal Plants

All rights reserved by dgrinbergs

Currently, Colorado has 12 coal plants which emit 47,200,000 tons of C02 emissions per year, ranking Colorado 23rd among power-related carbon emissions for all US states. Of these 12 coal plants, Xcel Energy operates 6.  By 2020, Colorado greenhouse gas emissions are project to reach 71% above 1990 levels.

Why it’s important

Electricity Generation and Coal Use in Colorado:

  • 82 % of the state’s electricity is produced by coal fired power plants, which released 36,000,000 tons of carbon dioxide(CO2), 132,000 tons of NOx, and 86,000 tons of SO2 in 1999.
  • In Colorado, total CO2 emissions from coal-fired power plants are approximately 15 times greater than emissions from natural gas-fired power plants.
  • Due to Colorado’s reliance on coal, its CO2 emission factor of 1.93 lb/kWh is relatively high compared to the U.S. average of1.34 lb/kWh.
  • Electrical power plants are also major contributors to releases of air toxics in the state (31 percent of total reported in 2000), particularly for mercury and dioxin.
  • Overall, electric utilities were responsible for 47.5 percent of the CO2 equivalent emissions in Colorado in 1990. Most of the 1,126,000 MM Btu’s of fuel consumed in Colorado in 1999 were used for electricity generation(34 percent) and transportation (32 percent).
  • When coal is burned, it emits 70 percent more carbon dioxide per Btu of energy produced than natural gas.

Background

Information related to Colorado’s coal plants:

Arapahoe

  • Location: South Denver
  • Number of Units: 2
  • Power produced: 56 MW total
  • CO2 Emissions:
  • Fuel source: Low-sulfur coal from the Powder River Basin, Gillette WY
  • Year built: 1950
  • 2007 Total operating costs: $33.6 Million

Cameo – Retired in 2010

  • Location: Grand Junction
  • Number of Units: 2
  • Power produced: 73 MW
  • CO2 Emissions:
  • Fuel source: Low-sulfur coal from McClane Canyon Mine near Mack CO
  • Year built: 1957
  • 2007 Total operating costs: $17.2 Million

Cherokee

  • Location: North Denver
  • Number of Units: 4
  • Power produced: 717 MW
  • CO2 Emissions:
  • Fuel source: Low-sulfur coal from Western CO
  • Year built: 1957
  • 2007 Total operating costs: $125.9 Million

Comanche

  • Location: Pueblo
  • Number of Units: 3
  • Power produced: 660 MW
  • CO2 Emissions:
  • Fuel source: Low-sulfur coal from Power River Basin, Gillette, WY
  • Year built: 1971
  • 2007 Total operating costs: $77.6 Million

Hayden

  • Location: Hayden, Colorado
  • Number of Units: 2
  • Power produced: 446 MW
  • CO2 Emissions:
  • Fuel source: Low sulfur coal from Twenty Mile mine
  • Year built: 1962
  • 2007 Total operating costs: $44.6 Million

Pawnee

  • Location: Brush CO
  • Number of Units: 1
  • Power produced: 505 MW
  • CO2 Emissions:
  • Fuel source: Low sulfur coal from near Gillette, WY
  • Year built: 1977
  • 2007 Total operating costs: $58.2 Million

Valmont

  • Location: Boulder, Colorado
  • Number of Units: 2
  • Power produced: 186 MW from coal, 43MW natural gas
  • CO2 Emissions:
  • Fuel source: Low-sulfur coal from western Colorado
  • Year built: 1921
  • 2007 Total operating costs: $35.8 Million

Xcel’s Coal Plants–Ages, Depreciation and Retirement Dates:

Facility Name

Unit #

Commissioned Date (a)

Original Cost as of1/1/2006(b)

Accumulated Depreciation as of1/1/2006 (c)

Net Plant as of1/1/2006(d)

Retirement Date (e)

(06S-234EG)

Arapahoe

3

1951

$17,169,365 $15,663,320

$1,506,045

2011

Arapahoe

4

1955

$77,650,327 $59,809,639

$17,840,688

2015

Cameo

1

1957

$11,107,350 $8,894,237

$2,213,113

2017

Cameo

2

1960

$27,467,296 $18,968,946

$8,498,350

2020

Cherokee

1

1957

$51,362,147 $50,011,960

$1,350,187

2017

Cherokee

2

1959

$42,880,442 $40,623,561

$2,256,881

2019

Cherokee

3

1962

$69,580,184 $46,826,257

$22,753,927

2022

Cherokee

4

1968

$223,997,460 $106,892,219

$117,105,241

2028

Comanche

1

1973

$162,142,598 $76,117,471

$86,025,127

2033

Comanche

2

1975

$186,340,402 $112,093,203

$74,247,199

2035

Craig (4)

1

1980

$59,116,627 $22,873,340

$36,243,287

2040

Craig (4)

2

1979

$26,158,843 $13,409,637

$12,749,206

2039

Hayden (4)

1

1965

$83,679,043 $43,287,653

$40,391,390

2025

Hayden (4)

2

1976

$107,540,352 $51,163,972

$56,376,380

2036

Pawnee

1

1981

$521,313,048 $215,521,607

$305,791,441

2041

Valmont

5

1964

$121,808,243 $53,303,476

$68,504,767

2024

Closing Coal Plants

To comply with the Clean Air Clean Jobs Act, Xcel plans to close the Valmont coal plant  by 2017; the Cherokee and Arapahoe coal plants are set to transition to natural gas by 2017.  The Hayden and Pawnee coal plants are being considered for pollution controls which would keep the coal plants on-line until 2036 and 2041 respectively and would cost close to $380 million.

Take Action

Xcel needs to know Colorado rate payers don’t want to spend more money on the Hayden and Pawnee coal plants when we have thousands of megawatts of clean wind and solar projects ready to go. A $380 million investment in old coal plants? If you’d rather have cleaner energy, please send a quick e-mail to boardofdirectors@xcelenergy.com.

Learn More

SourceWatch.org – Colorado Coal Plants

Wild Earth Guardians – Power Past Coal

References Cited

Colorado Coal Plant Data from Xcel Energy Discovery Questions

U.S. Energy Information Administration

Accelerating the transition from fossil fuels to a clean energy economy