Black Hills Power, a South Dakota utility with offices in Denver, filed papers Tuesday to shut down three aging coal-fired power plants in Wyoming and build a new natural gas-powered plant in Cheyenne – the first of its kind in the coal-dominated state.
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Colorado’s future looks extremely hot and dry if current climate trends continue, and the city of Boulder is being proactive in planning for more drought conditions, less water and a relatively crispy climate outlook all along the state’s Front Range in coming years.
Two Denver companies announced Tuesday at the United Nations Private Sector Forum in New York City that they will team up to tackle the lack of electrical grid connectivity on the Navajo Nation in the Four Corners region.
The state’s second largest power provider – Tri-State Generation and Transmission – has an all-of-the-above approach to energy resources, but that doesn’t mean its interest in a coal plant expansion in Kansas is meant to transform the Westminster-based company into a larger regional power wholesaler.
Conservation groups deeply involved in the resource acquisition planning process for Westminster-based Tri-State Generation and Transmission say they’re very concerned the state’s second largest power supplier behind only Xcel Energy is planning to build an 895-megawatt conventional, coal-fired power plant just across the state line in Holcomb, Kan.
While the Four Corners area is one of the most remote regions of the lower 48 states, it’s also home to some of the dirtiest coal-fired power plants in the nation. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) earlier this month set out to remedy that situation.
Xcel produces 1,410 megawatts of electricity in Pueblo — enough to power at least a million homes — but sells none of it to local residents. It does, indirectly, sell a percentage of that power to Pueblo households through Black Hills, which has a franchise agreement with the city, but will do so only until the end of next year, when the current contract is set to expire.
Colorado conservation groups reacted favorably to Thursday’s decision by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to at least set a timeline for establishing national limits on greenhouse gas emissions from power plants and oil refineries.
The Republican head of the Arizona Corporation Commission – the equivalent of the Colorado Public Utilities Commission (PUC) – recently told The Colorado Independent that coal and mining industry attacks against PUC Chairman Ron Binz are “not plausible.” Binz drew considerable coal industry heat in the lead-up to last week’s ruling by the PUC on a plan by Xcel Energy to shut down several aging coal-fired power plants on Colorado’s Front Range, convert another one to natural gas and build a new natural gas-fired power plant.
Both Xcel Energy and environmental groups cautiously praised Thursday’s unanimous decision by the Colorado Public Utilities Commission (PUC) to convert the Cherokee 4 coal-fired power plant unit to natural gas. But both sides are clearly still concerned about the details in the plan.