Xcel Energy to replace coal with solar power for Colorado steel mill

Minnesota based energy company Xcel Energy Inc. has reportedly signed a contract with its largest retail customer in Colorado to swap its coal fueled power plant with a 240 MW solar facility. Sources cite that Xcel, as a part of this contract, is targeting the closure of the 1,426 MW Comanche coal-powered plant.

According to Seeking Alpha, the shutdown of this plant is a part of the Colorado Energy Plan that aims to replace all coal-fueled plants with solar and wind energy facilities. The Comanche coal plant reportedly powers New CF&I’s (Colorado Fuel and Iron Company) steel mill in Pueblo, Colorado.

New CF&I, as per sources, is a unit of Evraz, a multinational mining & steel making company based out of London, UK. With regards to the current Comanche closure, Evraz has issued an ultimatum stating that unless the deal is signed, it will shift its operations out of state.

Xcel Energy spokeswoman, Michelle Aguayo stated that this is a unique contract – the first of its kind using customer-cited renewables that the company has filed under the Colorado law. Aguayo further added that Xcel has filed contracts of a similar nature in the past.

Xcel Energy Executive Vice President, David Eves stated that the Evraz solar project showcases the evolution of the company and is indicative of its vision and drive to move towards renewable energy and step away from conventional environmentally degrading practices.

For the record, Xcel Energy has applied for the solar plant’s approval at the Colorado Public Utilities Commission. The company also applied for the approval of a special energy services agreement and utility rates it will provide Evraz.

According to reports, Xcel has sought a protective order under the Colorado law to safeguard the financial terms of the deal citing that the information is highly confidential.