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Boulder Issues Statement Regarding Xcel Energy’s Newest Version of Its 2016 Electric Resource Plan

Today, Xcel Energy released an updated 2016 Electric Resource Plan that it says will result in the early retirement of two coal generation units in southern Colorado and a significant investment in renewables.

In response to this news, the City of Boulder is releasing the following statement, which was shared with attorneys for Xcel Energy this afternoon. The city made the statement in the context of ongoing Electric Resource Plan proceedings currently active in the Colorado Public Utilities Commission.

The statement is:

“The City of Boulder has long encouraged Xcel Energy to retire fossil-fuel based energy generating facilities as quickly as possible and transition to a clean energy system. In keeping with this goal, the city supports the addition of the Colorado Energy Plan Portfolio as a third scenario to be evaluated in the upcoming second phase of Xcel’s 2016 Electric Resource Plan (ERP) proceeding. This would allow for the consideration of an additional portfolio that includes early retirement of coal-fired generation and replacement of that generation with natural gas or renewable energy resources.

If chosen, the Colorado Energy Plan Portfolio has the potential to contribute to the city’s climate and energy goals. Boulder’s climate goals include reducing emissions 80 percent by 2050 and achieving 100 percent renewable electricity by 2030.

There are some important issues that require examination relative to how Xcel Energy proposes to implement the proposal. The city will continue to monitor the proceeding and may provide testimony should the Commission allow this proposal to move forward in the ERP proceeding.

Specifically, Boulder is interested in the impact of the proposal on the following,

  • The future of distributed solar: The proposal decreases funding for rooftop solar and community solar garden incentives by reducing the amount of the Renewable Energy Standard Adjustment (RESA), and utilizing those dollars to implement the planned portfolio. In addition, the proposal focuses on developing central station resources. The city is interested in learning more about possible limitations on the development of local distributed generation, specifically, the impact to customers, which may impact Boulder’s ability to achieve 100 MW of local renewable energy by 2030.
  • Emissions reduction: The proposal retires two coal plants 10 years earlier than planned, but will likely add new natural gas as well. While Boulder applauds the commitment to add new renewable energy, it is important to carefully evaluate any new investment in natural gas associated with the proposal.
  • Xcel ownership of new generation: The proposal states that Xcel will own 40 to 60 percent of new renewable generation and 60 to 75 percent of new natural gas. It is important that the ownership structure ultimately approved by the PUC ensures the greatest number of renewables are developed at the lowest cost to customers, which may result in Xcel not owning the proposed percentages of new generation. The city is concerned that the concentration of ownership by Xcel will limit competition and drive competitive generators out of Colorado, affecting cost to customers as well as local economic vitality.
  • Qualifying facilities: The ability to interconnect new renewable generation larger than 100 kW may be an important part of any community’s ability to achieve its climate commitment goals. It is important to develop a clear path for qualifying facilities that comply with federal standards to be able to sell power to Xcel.

The city looks forward to learning more about these issues as the proceeding continues.”

Published:  Aug. 29, 2017

Media Contacts:
Sarah Huntley, Media Relations, 303-441-3155

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