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Xcel to exit coal nationwide by 2030

Utility announces it's speeding up retirement of coal-fired units in Texas

Ashland power plant
Xcel’s Bayfront power plant in Ashland stopped using coal as a backup source of fuel in 2020. 
Photo courtesy of Xcel Energy

Xcel Energy plans to stop using coal nationwide by the end of 2030 after announcing Monday that it will speed up retirement of coal-fired units at its Tolk Generating Station in Texas.

Xcel said it now plans to retire the 1,067-megawatt coal plant in 2028 — more than four years earlier than planned. The company expects to replace coal with a diverse power mix that includes wind and solar near the Texas power plant.

The utility serves eight states, including Wisconsin. It has 300,000 electric customers and 100,000 natural gas customers in northwestern Wisconsin and Michigan.

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It became the first utility company in the nation to commit to 100 percent carbon-free electricity in 2018. Xcel had also set a goal to cut carbon emissions 80 percent from 2005 levels by 2030.

“As the first energy provider in the nation to set ambitious goals for addressing all the ways our customers use energy — electricity, heating and transportation — we are always striving to provide our customers cleaner energy resources, while saving them money,” Bob Frenzel, chairman, president and CEO of Xcel Energy, said in a statement. “Advancing the retirement of coal operations at Tolk Station demonstrates our commitment to our clean energy strategy, while ensuring our customers and communities have reliable, affordable and safe service.”

The advanced shut-down of the Tolk plant is expected to save Xcel customers in New Mexico and Texas more than $70 million, according to the utility. The utility is filing the proposal with New Mexico regulators next month. It will go before Texas regulators in February 2023.

Xcel said it will exit coal once it retires its last remaining coal unit in Colorado at the end of 2030. The utility previously announced that it planned to shutter its two remaining coal plants in the Upper Midwest by the end of the decade. Xcel doesn’t have any operating coal plants in Wisconsin. The utility stopped using coal at its Ashland power plant in 2020.