Friday, December 17, 2010

PUC puts last nail into coffin of Denver-area coal-fired power plants

By 2017 there will be no more coal-fired power plants in or near Denver.

The Public Utilities Commission entered an order Wednesday that requires Xcel Energy to close five coal-powered plants, open a natural gas-fired plant in Denver, and convert two other coal-based facilities to natural gas.

The agency also approved a request from Black Hills Energy to close two coal-based power plants near Canon City.

The order is based on the Colorado Clean Air-Clean Jobs Act, the landmark legislation enacted last year that aims to dramatically lower the state's nitrogen oxide emissions to the atmosphere.

Excel's actions will raise electric bills by an average of 2.5 percent by 2020.

Black Hills Energy customers could see an increase of five percent in their electricity rates.

The Washington Post has a story on the PUC's action.