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Xcel Energy’s happenings in CO

The Colorado Public Utilities Commission has approved Xcel Energy’s voluntary closings of two coal-fired coal plants, the Arapahoe Plant near Denver and the Cameo plant in Grand Junction CO. Xcel Energy is the foremost power company in the state of CO, powering 70% of the state. This is the first time that a major company has volunteered to close a plant, let alone two, in order to meet emissions quotas. Governor Ritter called for a 20% reduction in carbon dioxide emissions by 2020. The closings will reduce the emissions by 1.4 million tons per year. This is also a product of the Renewable Portfolio Standard (2004) that requires utilities to generate 10% of their power from clean energy by 2015.

They are not to be closed until 2010 and 2012 because they must remain operational until the new plants are built. Both produce 229 megawatts of power. Plans for a replacement 480 megawatt natural gas plant have been postponed at the moment. Ultimately the coal plants will be replaced with a 200 megawatt concentrated solar power plant, where molten salt will be used to store power long after sunset. Also, Xcel’s plans for a 850 megawatt wind-powered plant have also been approved. CO is setting a precedent that is a very good step in the right direction toward our country being self-sufficient in producing it’s own renewable energy. Hopefully the rest of the country will follow suit.

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