Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Xcel Energy's Planned Emissions Reductions

While some utilities are resistant to the EPA's new clean air rules, others, like Xcel Energy are more supportive and they are already working on reducing emissions.

"From our perspective it's almost a moot point," said Mark Stutz, a spokesman for Xcel Energy. "We support it because we've come up with a plan of action."

In 2010, Colorado passed legislation called the Clean Energy-Clean Jobs Act. Xcel was part of a diverse group that helped to create the measure initiated by former Gov. Bill Ritter. The law calls for Colorado utilities to reduce their emissions of sulfur dioxide, nitrogen oxides, mercury and carbon dioxide.

Xcel is expected to close a coal-fired unit at a Boulder plant and three at a plant in Denver. They plan to replace these plants with power from new cleaner natural gas-powered plants. The utility will also install modern emissions controls to cut emissions.

These measures will reduce emissions of nitrogen oxides by about 85 percent and sulfur dioxide and mercury emissions by about 80 percent. These significant emissions reductions come at a very modest cost to consumers. Xcel has indicated that these changes will result in rate increase of roughly 2 percent annually over the next decade.

Xcel will reduce its carbon emissions by 28 percent below a 2005 baseline, which is the goal stipulated in the Clean Energy-Clean Jobs Act.© 2011, Richard Matthews. All rights reserved.

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