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Colorado PUC OKs Xcel Plan to Add Natural Gas, Renewables

Unveiled earlier this year as a $2.5 billion proposal to reduce carbon emissions in Colorado, Xcel Energy's Denver-based utility on Monday was given a green light by state regulators to reduce coal-fired generation and increase natural gas and renewable resources.

As outlined a year ago to the Colorado Public Utilities Commission (PUC), the plan calls for more than 1,700 MW to be added, including 380 MW of natural gas-fired generation, nearly 1,100 MW of wind generation and 275 MW of large-scale battery storage, split between two existing power sites. Two coal-fired power plants in Pueblo County would be closed.

Xcel's plan is expected to result in a 60% reduction in carbon pollution and save utility customers up to $213 million by switching to lower-cost resources and from savings on maintenance for the coal units. A University of Colorado study commissioned by Xcel found that the plan would add 549 jobs statewide, with 133 jobs in Pueblo County.

“Clean burning natural gas is a critical part of Colorado’s power generation portfolio, and the approval of Xcel's Colorado Energy Plan confirms that," said Colorado Oil and Gas Association CEO Dan Haley.

Environmental groups supported the plan, including the Environmental Defense Fund (EDF).

"At a time when the Trump administration is undermining our national clean air protections, it's especially meaningful to see Pueblo, Xcel and the state working together to secure clean energy solutions that will create healthier communities and shared economic prosperity," said EDF senior attorney Graham McCahan.

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