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State’s coal capacity will dive from 4,412 MW  to 750 MW in little more than a decade  

Xcel Energy has been seen as a leader in decarbonization, a reputation that began on a sun-splashed December day in 2018 when company officials and others gathered at the Denver Museum of Nature and Science, the city’s tallest buildings in the background, to announce the intention of 80% decarbonization by 2030 and, by mid-century, zero carbon.

These declarations, bold at the time, made Xcel a national role model. In truth, others in Colorado were close behind. Just days later, Fort Collins-based Platte River Power Authority announced a provisional 100% goal for electrical deliveries to its four member cities in northern Colorado by 2030. A more cautious but no less ambitious Glenwood Springs-based Holy Cross Energy adopted the same 100% goal for 2030 in December 2020 but without caveats.

Now, the coal plants are closing in droves. Colorado had 17 coal burning units operating in 2018 that collectively had generating capacity of 4,412 megawatts.

Now, as of 2030, just one 750-megawatt plant will be operating, according to the proposal of Xcel, and that one at just a third of capacity.

Tri-State Generation and Transmission, Colorado Springs Utilities and Platte River all have or plan to close their coal plants during the next decade.

This is from Big Pivots, an e-magazine tracking the energy and water transitions in Colorado and beyond. Subscribe at

Allen Best
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