Xcel’s Coal Plants

Xcel Energy’s coal plants will act as a significant impediment to getting much above 25-30% renewable energy because coal plants don’t cycle up and down easily and so don’t support high levels of renewable energy.

Except for Hayden 1, all the rest of Xcel’s coal plants are scheduled to run through the next 20 years and “Comanche” 3 in Pueblo is supposed to run until 2069. This means that Colorado ratepayers will be vulnerable to the increasing costs of coal (going up about 10% per year) and the likely need to walk away from these coal plants before their projected retirement dates due to coal supply constraints and costs.

Furthermore the coal plants will still have to be paid off but they won’t be producing electricity. This is over a billion dollars of investment in coal plants that is likely to be stranded in the coming decades.

Spread sheet of Xcel Energy’s coal plants attached.

Here is a list of Xcel’s non CACJ (“Clean Air Clean Jobs”) coal plants (plants that are not slated for transition or closure), Xcel’s ownership share and expected retirement dates:

Hayden 1              139 MW         2025

Hayden 2                   98 MW          2036

Comanche 1             325 MW          2033

Comanche 2           335 MW            2035

Craig   2                   42 MW            2039

Craig  1                   42 MW            2040

Pawnee                  505 MW           2041

Comanche 3          511 MW            2069

TOTAL               1997 MW

Except for Hayden 1, all the rest of Xcel’s coal plants are scheduled to run through the next 20 years and “Comanche” 3 in Pueblo is supposed to run until 2069. This means that Colorado ratepayers will be vulnerable to the increasing costs of coal (going up about 10% per year) and the likely need to walk away from these coal plants before their projected retirement dates due to coal supply contraints and costs.

Furthermore the coal plants will still have to be paid off but they won’t be producing electricity. This is over a billion dollars of investment in coal plants that is likely to be stranded in the coming decades.

Importantly, Xcel’s coal plants will act as a significant impediment to getting much above 25-30% renewable energy because coal plants don’t cycle up and down easily and so don’t support high levels of renewable energy. 

Accelerating the transition from fossil fuels to a clean energy economy