Governor Polis celebrates a major step closer to achieving 100% renewable energy

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COLORADO – On Thursday, Governor Jared Polis and Black Hills Energy announced another major step in reducing pollution in Colorado and saving ratepayers money on electricity.

Black Hills Energy now joins all other major utilities across Colorado – together responsible for 99% of fossil-fired generation – to reduce air pollution and emissions by at least 80% by 2030 by filing a Clean Energy Plan as part of its upcoming Electric Resource Plan. 

“We’re committed to Colorado’s clean energy vision for our state’s electric sector and we’re proud to have one of the cleanest generation fleets in the state today,” said Vance Crocker, Black Hills Energy vice president for Colorado Utilities. “We’ve already made great progress toward the state’s goals, and the Clean Energy Plan we’ll file next year will help us to continue moving forward.”

Since closing its last Colorado coal plant nine years ago, Black Hills Energy has added three wind farms in Huerfano County, in Southern Colorado, which together deliver 150 MW of generating capacity.

Later this year, the company expects that construction will begin on Renewable Advantage, its first utility-scale solar project, a 200 MW facility located in Pueblo County. Renewable Advantage is expected to deliver more than $66 million in savings for Black Hills Energy customers over 15 years.

When Renewable Advantage comes online in 2023, more than half of the Black Hills Energy generation mix in Colorado will come from renewable sources, leading to a 70 percent reduction in GHG emissions by 2024.

“We are a customer-focused utility and we know our customers want more renewables, especially when they help to reduce costs,” Crocker said. “Increasing the amount of renewable energy on our system to reduce emissions while also delivering customer savings is a win/win. Our Clean Energy plan will take a balanced approach to achieving emissions reduction goals while also prioritizing reliability, safety and affordability for our customers.”

“Pueblo County has established the aspirational goal of getting 100 percent of our power supply from renewable energy by 2035,” said Garrison Ortiz, chair of the Pueblo County Board of Commissioners. “This is the best place in the country for wind and solar generation, so this makes sense for our community. The progress that Black Hills Energy is making on adding renewables is helping to move us toward our goal.”

To view the recorded news conference with Black Hills Energy and Colorado Gov. Polis, please visit https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Yep3RSVrFXA.

Xcel Energy, Tri-State Generation and Transmission, Colorado Springs Utilities, Platte River Power Authority and Holy Cross Energy have all made significant commitments to reduce pollution and transition to renewables, and today’s commitment from Black Hills marks a major milestone toward the Governor’s goal of achieving 100% renewable energy in Colorado by 2040. 

“Colorado is well on our way to achieving 100% renewable energy by 2040 and will continue to win lower rates along with the health and environmental benefits of green energy,” said Governor Polis. “I’m proud of the work the state has championed thus far and appreciate the private sector and climate advocates working together to meet the bold goals and demands of this generational challenge. The state’s transition to low-cost renewable energy also creates many clean energy jobs in Southern Colorado and across the state.”  

Black Hill’s commitment to file a greenhouse gas reduction plan culminates a remarkable and historic two and a half year streak of modernization and emissions reduction progress in the Colorado electric sector. 

Xcel Energy committed to an 80% pollution reduction goal by 2030 in December 2018. Tri-State unveiled in January 2019 its ambitious emissions reduction plan of closing all coal units in Colorado by 2030 and a commitment to build one gigawatt of renewable energy by 2024, increasing this in December with a plan to add another gigawatt of renewables and an 80% pollution reduction by 2030. In June 2020, Colorado Springs Utilities voted to retire the Drake coal plant by 2023, the Nixon coal plant by 2029, and achieve an 80% reduction in greenhouse gas pollution by 2030. The Platte River Power Authority in July 2020 committed to retiring the Rawhide coal plant and achieving 90% greenhouse gas pollution reduction by 2030. In December 2020, Holy Cross Energy made the remarkable commitment of 100% renewable energy by 2030. 

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