OPPOSITION: Western Resource Advocates; Sierra Club; Coloradoans for Clean Energy
BACKGROUND: In 2006, Xcel Energy announced a commitment of $3.5 million to prepare feasibility studies for an approximate $1 billion Integrated Gasification Combined Cycle (IGCC) generating project in Colorado. Xcel characterized IGCC as a clean-coal technology that uses a chemical process to turn coal into a gas, which is then burned in a modified combustion turbine to generate electricity. The potential benefits of this technology include increased energy-efficiency and reduced emissions. IGCC also facilitates the capture of carbon dioxide (CO2) before it is emitted into the atmosphere. The CO2 can then be sequestered, for example, underground in depleted oil wells.
The proposal followed passage of State legislation facilitating IGCC deployment. Xcel first claimed plans to construct a 300-350 megawatt facility. Later reports describe this as a 600 megawatt facility.
Xcel shelved the plan in 2007 citing development costs and the need to find additional partners. Environmental groups and others opposed the project claiming potential emissions reductions were unproven and development costs were too high, leading to higher rates.
LAST UPDATED: November 10, 2010