Environmental Leadership
September 19, 2023

Colorado proposal adds unprecedented renewable energy and storage

Clean Energy Plan would use a sustainable approach to hit emissions targets, enhance reliability

Xcel Energy continues to lead the clean energy transition by transforming Colorado’s energy mix while providing affordable, reliable service to meet customers’ evolving energy needs. The company’s Clean Energy Plan proposes to double the amount of renewable energy on the system and invests up to $15 billion across Colorado while taking advantage of $10 billion in Inflation Reduction Act tax credit benefits to reduce costs and support customers, communities and workers in the state. 


The proposal is now before the Colorado Public Utilities Commission, which approved the first phase of the nation-leading Colorado Clean Energy Plan in 2022. The plan slashes carbon emissions more than 80% by 2030, adds 6,500 megawatts (MW) of renewable energy to the grid, ends the use of coal by 2030 and invests in communities across the state with a focus on those with retiring coal plants.  


“We are excited about the plan we’ve brought before the Commission, as it delivers significantly more wind, solar and storage to our system, along with sustainable biomass and strategically necessary amounts of natural gas resources,” said Robert Kenney, president of Xcel Energy Colorado. “We listened to stakeholders who want a smart, sustainable transition to cleaner energy while providing a just transition for impacted communities and employees. This plan relies on proven technologies while using emerging technologies like battery storage to provide a balanced mix of resources that meet Colorado’s energy goals.” 


The plan was developed from the more than 1,000 energy project proposals submitted and includes projects throughout the state. Xcel Energy is recommending approval of its plan because it is a balanced portfolio that protects affordability while bolstering grid reliability. The plan also includes additional investments in transmission infrastructure to enhance reliability in the Denver metro area and throughout the state. 


Clean Energy Plan 


Referred to as the “Preferred Plan”, it represents the largest clean energy portfolio ever built in Colorado, with more wind and solar power, more energy storage, a new biomass facility and less natural gas. The plan includes 22 new energy projects, with Xcel Energy owning about two-thirds of the projects.  


Benefits of the plan include: 

  • Driving our system to more than 80% renewable energy by adding 3,400 MW of wind; 1,970 MW of solar; 1,170 MW storage and 19 MW of biomass to the grid. 
  • Meeting or exceeding the state’s emission reduction targets, which call for an 80% reduction in carbon emissions by 2030. 
  • Reliably transitioning a significant portion of our generation fleet.   
  • Supporting the workforce and communities in areas that are home to coal-fueled power plants. 
  • Enhancing grid reliability even under extreme weather conditions. 
  • Supporting local and system reliability by adding 630 MW of strategically located natural gas resources. 

The Preferred Plan keeps costs low for customers, with an average annual rate impact of 2.3%. This means that adjusted for inflation, the average residential customer’s monthly bill in 2030 will be about $10 more than today.  


Hayden, San Luis Valley, Fort Lupton 


As part of its plan to reduce carbon emissions, the company is fully retiring the Hayden Generating Station and proposing a new biomass facility to support the local community and workforce as the coal units fully retire by the end of 2028. The facility will use forest waste from fire prevention activities and Rocky Mountain pine beetle-kill wood as a sustainable biofuel. The project will employ 26 full-time, long-term operations employees. 


With the retirement of Xcel Energy’s existing Alamosa combustion turbine in 2025, Xcel Energy is proposing a new 28 MW combustion turbine to bolster reliable electric service in the San Luis Valley by backing up existing generation in the area. 


A proposed combustion turbine in Fort Lupton will support the current system, developing new 24/7 generation to help during times of high energy use when customers need electricity the most. 


Colorado’s Power Pathway 


Colorado’s Power Pathway, a “transmission highway” currently under construction, provided developers new opportunities for proposed projects. The Preferred Plan includes projects that span the state, with a concentration of proposals located along the Pathways’ transmission corridor. These projects will bring new economic benefits to rural Colorado via landowner lease payments, job creation and local tax revenue. 


Xcel Energy’s proposal fulfills the vision of a broad coalition of diverse stakeholders who supported last year’s agreement on the Colorado Energy Plan. We look forward to working with the Commission as they evaluate our Preferred Plan, as well as several alternative portfolios submitted in our proposal. The Commission is expected to select a portfolio late this year.