New Xcel coal-to-gas idea keeps 1 coal-fired unit

DENVER — Xcel Energy now proposes retrofitting a coal-fired power plant unit in Denver with new emission controls, rather than shutting it down, to reduce air pollution.

As required by a new state law, Xcel in August filed a plan to add emissions controls to some coal-fired units, retire others and switch some to natural gas to help Colorado meet federal air standards. That proposal would have retired the coal-fired Cherokee 4 unit in Denver in 2022, but staff for the Colorado Public Utilities Commission said the law requires Xcel to fully implement the plan by the end of 2017.

Xcel filed a new recommendation Monday to instead retrofit Cherokee 4 with new emissions controls by then. The utility said it still prefers shutting down Cherokee 4 in 2022 but that the proposal it recommended Monday is a “next best option.”

The PUC has until Dec. 15 to rule on a plan.



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