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Xcel Energy Moves its Colorado Clean Energy Plan Forward with Largest-Ever Request for New Energy Generation

By Tyler Bryant

December 7, 2022

To move its nation-leading clean energy transition forward, Xcel Energy-Colorado is seeking proposals for new energy generation, including significant amounts of new renewable energy. The request for proposals from developers is the largest in Colorado’s history and is a key step toward delivering on the company’s Colorado Clean Energy Plan, driving major carbon reductions while ensuring reliability and affordability for customers.

The Colorado Clean Energy Plan is expected to reduce carbon emissions by at least 85% by 2030 compared to 2005 levels and provide customers with electricity from 80% renewable sources – while ending the use of coal by the end of 2030 and adding unprecedented renewable energy to the grid.

“This is a major step for Colorado’s clean energy future,” said Robert Kenney, president of Xcel Energy–Colorado. “The size and scope of the request reflects our continued leadership of the nation’s clean energy transition while providing reliable, safe and affordable energy to our customers. This bidding process will determine the clean energy generation and technologies that will supply Colorado’s electrical grid for years to come.”

The company is primarily seeking proposals for solar, energy storage, wind and natural gas-fired generation. However, it will consider all bids for any generation type other than coal. Using a competitive process to add new resources helps ensure the state’s and customers’ clean energy goals are met at a competitive price while replacing older generation with cleaner energy. Since 2007, Xcel Energy has retired or has plans to retire over 1,500 megawatts of coal-fired generation, including the scheduled retirement of Comanche 1 and 2 in 2022 and 2025, respectively, and replacing it with renewable and natural gas resources.

The new energy generation will support future plans that include:

  • The early retirement or conversion of Xcel Energy’s remaining coal units by the end of 2030. Hayden 2 will retire in 2027, Craig 2 and Hayden 1 will retire in 2028, Comanche 3 will retire by Jan. 1, 2031, and Pawnee will convert to natural gas no later than Jan. 1, 2026.
  • Historic additions of carbon-free energy resources. Based on initial modeling, Xcel Energy anticipates adding approximately 2,300 megawatts of wind, 1,600 megawatts of large-scale solar, 400 megawatts of battery storage and 1,300 megawatts of flexible “always available” generation. The actual level and type of resources acquired will be based on the bids received.
  • Exceeding the state’s 2030 clean energy target of 80% emissions reduction from 2005 levels

Request for proposal details

This process will seek to acquire sufficient energy resources to meet Xcel Energy’s forecasted electric needs from 2023 through 2028. A future separate solicitation will acquire resources needed from 2029 through 2031.

Three requests for proposals have been issued for different generation technologies and ownership models, including company ownership, dispatchable (“always available”) resources and renewable resources. The resource amount Xcel Energy may acquire from this RFP depends, among other things, on the quality of bids received in response to the solicitation, on economic comparison to other RFP responses and Xcel Energy ownership proposals, on updates to forecasts, on regional transmission availability and on changes to regulatory or legal requirements.

Xcel Energy worked closely with labor organizations to ensure that the solicitation and bid evaluation process will provide the PUC with the information necessary to give due consideration to labor-related issues as required by recent legislation.

Bids from developers will be due by March 1, 2023. The company expects to file its bid evaluation report and recommended bid portfolio(s) for PUC review and approval in Q3 2023 with a PUC decision expected 90 days later.

For more information and the timeline of the RFP process, please visit our website. Xcel Energy will host a bidder information conference on Dec. 20, 2022, at 9 – 11 a.m. MST, located at the Xcel Energy building, 1800 Larimer St., Denver, CO 80202. The conference will be live streamed online for remote attendees.

About Xcel Energy

Xcel Energy (NASDAQ: XEL) provides the energy that powers millions of homes and businesses across eight Western and Midwestern states. Headquartered in Minneapolis, the company is an industry leader in responsibly reducing carbon emissions and producing and delivering clean energy solutions from a variety of renewable sources at competitive prices. For more information, visit xcelenergy.com or follow us on Twitter and Facebook.

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