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From Colorado: Xcel Energy Put Shareholder Profits Before Pueblo Families and Kids’ Education

New U.S. Department of Energy study shows Pueblo, the State of Colorado, and Colorado ratepayers could have benefited more from not retiring Comanche I & II early

June 20, 2019 (Pueblo, Colo.) – A study released today by the U.S. Department of Energy showed the economic benefits that would have accrued to Pueblo, Colo. had Xcel not pushed to retire Comanche I & II early and used carbon capture, utilization, and storage (CCUS) technology instead. According to the study, Colorado was identified as an ideal location because it currently has existing natural CO2 resources as well as pipeline infrastructure that is used to transport CO2 to the Permian Basin for use in enhanced oil recovery.

With a 65% reduction in emissions from 2020-2042, according to the report, the CCUS plan would reduce CO2 emissions 25% more than the CEP, which only sees a 52% reduction.

Further, the CCUS plan would generate $10.21 billion in CO2 revenues and would create 18,600 Colorado jobs, 5,300 more jobs than the CEP. The plan also would increase Colorado wage and salary earnings by more than $900 million and would increase Colorado tax revenue by over $40 million.

The CCUS plan would be a boon to Pueblo, which has traditionally lagged behind Colorado in economic development. The report predicts the CCUS would create 11,200 jobs in Pueblo in contrast to 3,100 jobs from the CEP. Additionally, the CCUS retrofit option would increase Pueblo wage and salary earnings by over $500 million and increase Pueblo real estate tax revenues by nearly 60%, or more than $800 million, transforming the Pueblo School District from a relatively low-resourced district to one of Colorado’s wealthiest.

“We need to halt the CEP now. The CCUS plan is better for Colorado’s environment, better for Colorado and Pueblo’s economies, and better for Pueblo’s kids. This is a no-brainer,” said Amy Oliver Cooke with the Coalition of Ratepayers, a Colorado non-profit concerned with issues impacting small business and residential ratepayers that otherwise have no advocate and no voice. “It is unconscionable that Xcel boosted shareholder profits on the backs of Pueblo working families and kids. Not only does Pueblo need the economic boost that the CCUS plan would have delivered, but this would have given Pueblo students the educational foundation they need to succeed in the future.”

Xcel Energy developed the CEP as part of the company’s 2016 Electric Resource Plan. One of the major components of the CEP is the proposed early retirement of two coal-fired generation units at the Comanche Generating Station. Unit 1 is scheduled to be retired in 2022, and Unit 2 by 2025. The Colorado Public Utility Commission approved the CEP in 2018. That decision was based, in part, on a questionable Xcel-commissioned study alleging economic benefits for Pueblo.

“The Coalition of Ratepayers would like to thank the DOE and Trump administration for their affordable power advocacy on behalf of captive ratepayers,” Cooke added. “Hopefully, there’s still time to do what’s right for Pueblo and Colorado, not what benefits special interests, Xcel executives, and shareholders.”

The Coalition of Ratepayers is a Colorado nonprofit focused on issues impacting small business and residential ratepayers that otherwise have no voice. To learn more, please visit www.i2i.org/coalition-of-ratepayers.

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