DENVER (KDVR) — Xcel Energy has requested to increase its rates multiple times in recent years, claiming that the extra money to go toward repairs and replacing infrastructure is vital for its Colorado Clean Energy Plan.
The plan aims to reduce carbon emissions by at least 85% from 2005 levels by 2030, as well as end the use of coal by 2030.
Xcel said it plans to shift to renewable energy resources like solar and wind for a carbon-free future.
So, where does the power come from now?
Less than half of Xcel Energy’s power in Colorado comes from carbon-free resources at 42%, according to the Xcel website.
In Colorado, Xcel gets power from coal, natural gas, wind, solar, and other unspecified resources.
Natural gas and coal are used to produce 58% of Xcel’s power in Colorado. The other 42% is renewable resources, including 35% wind power and 5% solar power. Xcel does not specify what accounts for the remaining 2% of carbon-free power resources.
The numbers are similar in Texas and New Mexico, except just 39% of Xcel’s power there is considered carbon-free.
Meanwhile, in the upper midwest, 69% of Xcel’s power is from carbon-free resources including 28% nuclear power, 30% wind power, 4% solar power and 7% from an unspecified renewable resource.
What is the setback?
Xcel said its plan to expand renewable energy in Colorado is being “highly inhibited” by inadequate transmission. The transmission systems in eastern and southern Colorado, where the best resources are for wind and solar power, are essentially full, according to the Xcel website.
Excess energy from wind and solar is stored in battery installations, but Xcel said it is considering other methods like compressed air, molten salt and other technologies that are still being explored.
How will this change in the future?
However, Xcel is working on a project to add more transmission lines in the state called Colorado’s Power Pathway.
The project will improve the state’s electric grid and enable renewable energy development in the future.
The project is costing between $1.7 billion and $2 billion. The electric grid will expand primarily in eastern Colorado,k including some 550 to 610 miles of new, double-circuit transmission line, four new substations and four expanded substations.
The first segments will be in service by 2025, and other segments are expected to be completed in 2026 and 2027.