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30 August 2017

Colorado electric utility Xcel Energy to shut down two coal units

Xcel Energy, US electricity utility based in Minneapolis, announced that it is considering decommissioning two coal units-a decade earlier than planned, and replace the generational capacity with solar and wind energy, as well as natural gas.

The plan refers to the Comanche Generating Station in Pueblo, which comprises three units of a total installed capacity of 1,410MW.

Unit I has 325MW installed capacity, Unit II 335MW and Unit III 750MW and were commissioned in 1973, 1974 and 2010 respectively.

According to the energy company, the first unit is expected to be decommissioned in 2022 and the second one in 2025.

The plan will be put into force only if the overall cost of electricity is the same or less than current costs, and Excel believes than this plan will save money to the company.

David Eves, President of Colorado Operations said: “We think there's a material savings; it will depend on the bids whether it’s a lot cheaper or whether it’s marginally less expensive”.

If the plan goes through, this will cost 80 to 90 jobs within the next eight years, but according to Eves, Excel Energy will work with the employees for other job opportunities.

Excel Energy, an electricity utility operating across eight Western and Midwestern States, is generating both fossil fuel and renewable energy electricity but is undergoing a significant shift towards the latter during the past years.

The company said that during the switching to renewables from fossil fuels, a layoff never occurred.

Currently, Xcel has invited the Colorado Public Utilities Commission to study the proposal and approve its plan.

If the Commission gives the green light, Xcel will issue a tender asking bids for solar, wind and gas power projects and will it sign new contracts with independent power producers to procure the company clean energy.

Meantime, Minneapolis- the city where Xcel holds is headquartered, published recently disclosued it plan to supply all its operations with 100% renewable energy by 2022.

Excel is expected to play a pivotal role in this plan, as the Minneapolis city council announced that it will sign more agreements with the company to procure renewable energy sourced electricity. 

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