Xcel wants to reduce solar projections

Xcel Energy wants the state to allow it to reduce by nearly half its promise to generate more electricity from solar sources.

The utility company asked the Colorado Public Utilities Commission on Friday for permission to reduce by 48 percent the solar generation targets it agreed to under Xcel’s 2007 Colorado Resource Plan.

Company officials said it wants to reduce to 185 megawatts, from the originally approved 335 megawatts by 2015, the amount of solar power primarily because of the lack of transmission lines in the San Luis Valley.

Karen Hyde, Xcel’s vice president for regulatory matters, said the request is temporary, at least until transmission capacity catches up with power generation.

“Our commitment to the development of solar resources from the San Luis Valley over the long term has not changed,” she said in a statement. “But because we cannot guarantee the ability to move power to the grid when these solar resources become available, we are compelled to step back from our original plans and seek this reduction.”

Xcel had hoped to have a new transmission line in service in the valley by 2013, but delays have made that unlikely, Hyde said.

She said the company is going forward with other aspects of its 2007 plan, including natural gas, wind and solar projects elsewhere in the state.

The company recently announced two major wind-power projects in New Raymer and Limon on the Eastern Plains that are to generate about 500 megawatts of electricity, and it reached an agreement to provide 900 megawatts from two natural gas sources.

It is unknown when the utilities commission will rule on the request.


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