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Xcel plans to double its renewable energy generation by 2030. It’ll cost consumers $8 billion to do it.

Xcel plans to double its renewable energy generation by 2030. It’ll cost consumers $8 billion to do it.

Big new solar and wind projects are planned to get Xcel Energy to 80% renewable generation in Colorado, but fossil fuels still will be needed to balance the system.

Xcel Energy will spend $8 billion to double its renewable energy generation and storage and add new transmission lines, while closing all of its coal-fired power plants in Colorado by 2040.

The initiative, unveiled Wednesday, would reduce Xcel’s carbon emissions in Colorado 85% from 2005 levels by 2030. A state law requires regulated utilities to cut carbon emissions by 80% in the next 10 years.

The utility’s “Clean Energy Plan” will be submitted to the Colorado Public Utilities Commission at the end of March for review and approval. It builds on a plan Xcel adopted in 2018, which set a goal of generating 100% carbon-neutral electricity by 2050.

“The Clean Energy Plan is going to transform state energy policy in Colorado,” Xcel Energy CEO Ben Fowke said during a video conference.

Gov. Jared Polis, who also participated in the video conference, said “Xcel Energy is showing it can be done, this swift transition to renewables.”

Utilities across the country have been under increasing pressure from customers, shareholders, communities and governments to add more renewable energy and reduce carbon emissions, Fowke said. The change has also been spurred by the falling price of wind and solar generation.

Xcel, Colorado’s largest electricity provider, was one of the first utilities to set ambitious goals for its service areas, which cover parts of eight states. It also was among the first in the nation to reach 10,000 megawatts of wind power.
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