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Climate Change Pine_Bark_Beetle_Destroyed

Published on April 1st, 2010 | by Susan Kraemer

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Xcel Energy Cuts Colorado Coal Use by 30%

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April 1st, 2010 by
 

Colorado’ s largest utility, Xcel Energy is shutting down 900 MW of coal plants and replacing them with natural gas power plants. This move by just one utility will reduce the entire Colorado coal power fleet by a staggering 30%. What prompted this rather dazzling move?

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The Colorado Clean Air – Clean Jobs Act just passed. Badda bing.

All new (or re-powered) electric power plants may not emit more than 1,100 pounds of carbon dioxide per megawatt-hour, effectively ruling out coal burning (without CCS).

All utilities in the state must find a way to achieve the goal. They can replace or re-power coal plants with natural gas or add energy efficiency measures such as combined heat & power, or they can switch to renewable energy sources.

The utilities don’t have much time to dither or lobby to argue the law. Their proposals have just nine months to be approved by the Colorado Public Utilities Commission by December and they must be up and running in six years by 2017.

Xcel is Colorado’s largest utility, with more than 1.1 million residential customers. Natural gas is the easy way out, since the state has the third-largest reserves of natural gas. Although natural gas is a fossil fuel that potentially harms drinking water, its contribution to climate change is only half that of coal.

Just how this sensible Colorado legislation got its bipartisan support needs study and emulation at the Federal level for the nation’s good.

Or did the devastation wrought on Colorado forest by the Pine Bark Beetle help state Republicans see our shared sad reality of fossil-fueled climate change where congressional Republicans won’t?

Images: Pine Bark Beetle killed forest

Source: Climate Progress

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About the Author

writes at CleanTechnica, CSP-Today, PV-Insider , SmartGridUpdate, and GreenProphet. She has also been published at Ecoseed, NRDC OnEarth, MatterNetwork, Celsius, EnergyNow, and Scientific American. As a former serial entrepreneur in product design, Susan brings an innovator's perspective on inventing a carbon-constrained civilization: If necessity is the mother of invention, solving climate change is the mother of all necessities! As a lover of history and sci-fi, she enjoys chronicling the strange future we are creating in these interesting times.    Follow Susan on Twitter @dotcommodity.



  • Mike Aluni

    Is it when you think about what it might do to the water…

  • hard worker

    ITS going to be more like xcel cuts hundreds of jobs in colorado to repower at consumer expenses, you can expect your rates to go up about 30 to 40 over the next 2 to 3 years, trading one fossil fuel for another is not the way to go.

  • http://GlobalPatriot.com Global Patriot

    We’ll see this happen more often in the coming decade, as natural gas replaces coal for generating electricity. While it’s not the ultimate move to renewable energy, it does provide for a cleaner transition that’s less harmful to the environment.

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