Xcel Energy Inc. is proposing to triple the amount of utility-scale solar power on its grid in Colorado, and add another 450 megawatts of wind power. The proposal, filed with the Colorado Public Utilities Commission, is the result of months of competitive bidding by power plant developers eager to supply electricity to Xcel. If approved, the plan would cut Xcel’s carbon dioxide emissions by more than one-third compared to 2005 levels. Xcel’s preferred plan includes:The details of this deal are obscure, but it certainly sounds like some power plant developer has placed a bid to deliver solar power at a prince that is competitive with natural gas. If so, that would be a very important milestone.
Power from all of the new projects can be delivered to Xcel’s customers with transmission lines already in place, David Eves, the CEO of Public Service Company of Colorado, Xcel’s subisidiary in the state, said in an interview. He also said this round of bidding is the first time the utility has seen solar projects that are cost-competitive with natural gas-generated power. “This is the first time that we’ve seen, purely on a price basis, that the solar projects made the cut — without considering carbon costs or the need to comply with a renewable energy standard — strictly on an economic basis,” Eves said. “This is really good news.”
- 170 megawatts of big, utility-scale solar power plants to be built in Colorado — separate from Xcel’s proposal to add 42.5 megawatts of small-scale solar power the utility proposed in July.
- 450 megawatts of new Colorado wind power, bringing the company’s total wind-based power supply in Colorado to 2,650 megawatts.
- 317 megawatts of “low-cost” power from natural gas plants the utility will use when the wind stops and the sun goes down.
Friday, October 11, 2013
Solar Power as Cheap as Natural Gas
The price of a megawatt of solar cell electricity has fallen 99 percent since 1977. It is still falling by 20 to 30 percent every year. And now this: