Colorado Approves Plan to Move Beyond Coal
May 15, 2011
As part of the trend of growing clean energy in the U.S., Xcel Energy, Colorado’s largest investor-owned utility, has announced that it will meet the state’s mandate to generate at least 30 percent of its electricity from renewable resources eight full years ahead of the mandate’s 2020 deadline.
“The fact that Xcel is going to be able to meet Colorado’s renewable energy standard only two years after the law was passed, and eight full years before the law requires it, demonstrates that clean and safe alternatives to dirty and dangerous coal-fired power are available today,” said Roger Singer, Regional Representative for the Sierra Club’s Beyond Coal campaign in Colorado.
When Colorado approved a 30 percent Renewable Portfolio Standard in last year’s legislative session, it was the most ambitious renewable energy standard in the country (California has since approved a 33 percent standard). Yet even this ambitious standard was easily surpassed.
“We can’t afford to lose this great momentum and the many new jobs it creates,” Singer said. “We are capable of so much more. If clean energy can succeed in Colorado, it can succeed all over America.”
January 15, 2011
Sierra Club, as part of a diverse coalition of environmental and public health groups, is celebrating a monumental decision that will move Colorado beyond coal. In December of 2010, the Colorado Public Utilities Commission (PUC) approved a plan by the state’s largest utility, Xcel Energy, to retire 902 megawatts of coal-fired power. The retirement plan executes a state law passed in March of 2010—the Clean Air Clean Jobs Law—that charged Xcel Energy and the state PUC to forge a comprehensive, coordinated, cost-effective path to transition the state away from dirty coal towards a clean energy future.
The Colorado PUC has approved the retirement of all seven of the coal-fired power plants located in the Denver metropolitan area. The plants will be retired in phases between 2011 and 2017, and a mix of cleaner alternatives, such as natural gas and renewable resources, is expected to replace coal as a fuel source. This decision complements the state’s ambitious plan to have 30 percent of Colorado’s energy come from renewable resources by 2020.
Sierra Club and its many allies participated extensively at the PUC level, while raising awareness about the harmful public health and environmental impacts of mining and burning coal through public outreach and organizing. This decision culminates years of work to move Colorado beyond coal, and establishes a pathway for other states and progressive utilities to transition from coal to cleaner, healthier energy sources.
See other "Retiring Old Coal" cases.