Colorado Law Will Retire or Retrofit Coal-Fired Power Plants
Colorado Governor Bill Ritter on Monday signed into law the Colorado Clean Air-Clean Jobs Act--legislation that requires Xcel Energy (NYSE: XEL) to cut nitrogen oxide emissions by up to 80% from several Front Range coal plants by the end of 2017, most likely sooner.
Xcel will work with the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment to submit a plan to the Public Utilities Commission by Aug. 15, detailing how it will retire or retrofit 900 megawatts (MW) of coal-fired capacity. Xcel will give primary consideration to replacing or repowering those plants with natural gas, renewables, greater efficiencies and other cleaner energy sources.
"This law is a template for tomorrow that allows us to transform our energy portfolio, our economy and our environment by working strategically and collaboratively," Gov. Ritter said. "By shifting our oldest and least efficient coal plants to cleaner, Colorado-produced natural gas, we send a strong message to the rest of the country that we absolutely can cut air pollution and protect public health while also creating jobs and protecting ratepayers."
Governor Ritter was joined at the Capitol signing ceremony by members of a broad coalition that supported House Bill 1365, including Xcel Energy Chairman and CEO Dick Kelly, lawmakers, power producers and conservationists.
"This legislation brings economic, energy and environmental benefits together in one package," the Governor said. "It will set a national example and serve as the exclamation point on Colorado's New Energy Economy, which now also features a 30% Renewable Energy Standard and a new set of balanced, responsible and modern drilling rules."
The Governor thanked Xcel Energy for its national leadership and for partnering with Colorado to create a more diverse and secure energy portfolio, strengthen Colorado’s economy and protect the state’s environment.
"This law gives us a great opportunity to address the issues of regional haze and ozone in a comprehensive fashion, with some certainty for our customers," said Xcel Energy Chairman and CEO Dick Kelly.
The federal Clean Air Act requires Colorado to submit a plan to address regional haze by early next year or the EPA will write its own plan for Colorado. The Clean Air-Clean Jobs Act will allow investor-owned utilities like Xcel Energy to help craft their own plans for how to meet new regional haze guidelines, as well as new mandates for ozone, mercury and carbon dioxide in one comprehensive analysis that will minimize costs and maximize emissions reductions.
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