PUEBLO, Colo. — Pueblo County leaders confirmed at a press conference on Wednesday that a settlement has been reached to shut down the last coal-powered power plant in Colorado.
The Colorado Public Utilities Commission has approved Excel Energy’s agreement to close Comanche 3 power plant by 2031, 9 years ahead of the retirement date in the original plan. The plan will deliver more than 80% of Pueblo’s energy needs from renewable resources by 2030 and exceed state carbon dioxide emissions targets, reducing carbon emissions by at least 85% by 2030, since 2005.
“Excel’s clean energy plan, recently approved by the Colorado Public Utilities Commission, provides Pueblo with the opportunity to be the clean energy capital of the state and the region,” said Pueblo County Commissioner Garrison Ortiz. “With potential investment within Pueblo County of over 1 billion dollars while at the same time protecting our workers and the taxes from the coal plant that generates over 30 million dollar a year for the residents of Pueblo County.”
Beginning in 2025, the plant will begin reducing its operations. The agreement also calls for Excel Energy to continue tax payments to Pueblo County until the original closing date of December 31, 2040.
“This is a historic settlement that places Colorado as a leader in the efforts to save our planet and climate change. It provides deep carbon emission cuts and closes the last coal plant in the state of Colorado, but with meaningful transition for coal communities such as ours,” added Commissioner Ortiz.
Ortiz said the settlement provides community assistance payments to replace the taxes paid by Excel energy for 10 years following the January 2031 closure, as well as incentives for Excel Energy and others to build replacement clean energy generation within Pueblo.
Energy resource additions between 2021 and 2030 will be determined by a competitive bid process and are estimated to include:
- Approximately 2,400 MW of wind
- Approximately 1,600 MW of large scale solar
- Approximately 400 MW of energy storage
- Nearly 1,300 MW of firm dispatchable resources (available 24/7)
- Nearly 1,200 MW of distributed solar resources
Comanche Units 1 and 2 are already scheduled to retire by 2025.