Black Hills Energy, which made headlines earlier this year when it suspended its solar rebate program, wants to replace two aging coal-fired power plants slated to be closed with natural-gas-fired units.
Posted by Staff
In its filing Monday with the state’s Public Utility Commission, the utility seeks approval for an 88-megawatt natural- gas-fired turbine at its Pueblo Airport Generation Station site — where two other gas-fired units are being built.
Pending approval by the PUC, the plan will enable the Rapid City-based utility to accelerate cost recovery under the Clean Air-Clean Jobs Act signed into law by former Gov. Bill Ritter last last year.
In December, Black Hills, which serves roughly 93,000 consumers and businesses in southeast Colorado, said it would close its W.N. Clark facility in Pueblo. The plant has been operating turbines 60 and 70-years old.
“Although we had no short- term plans to retire any generation before passage of Colorado’s Clean Air-Clean Jobs Act, we’ve worked diligently to determine the most efficient plan to replace the capacity deficit,” Christopher Burke, Black Hills vice president of operations, said in a statement.
SOLAR REBATE PROGRAM TO RE-LAUNCH?
Black Hills Energy says it has been in negotiations with solar industry leaders since it suspended the rebate program referenced in our opening paragraph. The company’s director of economic development, Dan Smith, said he hopes to see a new plan in practice by June or July.
Smith said the utility and solar industry leaders and stakeholders have been meeting and working on drafting a new plan, which has reached a point where most parties seem to agree. The new plan would include a dramatically lower and more flexible rebate along with a slightly higher and also flexible renewable-energy-credit, or REC, payment.