Rep. Bradford drops bill as result of Cameo power plant compromise

Xcel Energy’s decision to keep discussions open about the future of the Cameo power plant moved state Rep. Laura Bradford, R-Collbran, to drop legislation Thursday that could have forced the state to spend thousands of dollars.

“When an energy plant closes, a huge vacuum in both energy production and the local economy is felt throughout the entire community,” Bradford said. “That is why I have
diligently worked with Xcel Energy to keep the discussion of this site’s future alive.”

As a result of these negotiations, Bradford withdrew a bill that would have forced the Public Utilities Commission to study the direct and indirect effects of closing power plants.

“If the discussions don’t proceed as I assume they will be … I’ll be back,” Bradford told the House Transportation and Energy Committee.

She said a $4.5 million plan Xcel has floated to allow the power plant to harness the sun’s rays to produce steam for power production helped her and the company reach their agreement.

“You’ve managed to find a good compromise,” Rep. Michael Merrifield, D-Manitou Springs, said at the hearing.

Bradford’s bill, according to legislative staff, would have cost the state more than $86,000 over the next two years.

The Public Utilities Commission voted last year to allow Xcel to retire the Cameo plant by 2011 in an effort to reduce its carbon emissions under an April 2008 executive order from Gov. Bill Ritter.

To comply with the order, the commission has worked to take coal-fired power plants off line as the facilities reached the end of their planned life span.

The 73-megawatt power plant employs 35 people and supplies power to roughly 5,500 customers in the Grand Valley.


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