In 2017, electricity in the state of Colorado was generated from coal (40.6%), natural gas (32.4%) and renewable energy (27.0%). The state’s electricity from renewable energy has more than doubled over the past ten years. Colorado’s energy balance is continuing to change as utilities close coal-fueled power plants and replace them with wind farms and solar parks.
Colorado’s Public Utilities Commission (PUC) has approved Xcel Energy’s plan to close two coal-fired power plants. Xcel Energy’s plan is to close two coal-fired power plants in Pueblo, Colorado, ten years ahead of schedule. The two coal plants will be replaced by wind farms and solar power parks, which will have battery storage capabilities.
Why is Xcel and other utilities across America moving from coal to renewable energy? Economics, pure and simple. The cost to generate electricity from wind farms and solar parks is now cheaper than coal-fueled power plants. The cost of coal has continued to climb, which technology has driven down the cost for wind and solar energy. Battery storage allows intermittent energy sources like wind and solar to be available twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week. Battery storage is able to handle peak power demands more efficiently and cost effectively than coal or natural gas peak power plants. In the final analysis, renewable energy saves the consumers money and eliminates greenhouse gases.