Peabody Energy Corp. and Arch Coal Inc. have lost a large customer with the announcement that Xcel Energy Inc. has burned its last coal at a Colorado power plant.
Xcel has planned to switch from coal to gas at its Valmont plant in the Boulder area since at least 2010, when the state passed a law requiring the utility to reduce nitrous oxide emissions. Valmont has two operating units: a coal-fired, steam-electric generating unit of 186 MW that can also burn natural gas and a gas combustion turbine.
An Xcel spokesperson confirmed to that Valmont’s unit 5 exhausted its coal supply on March 3 and would not use any more coal to generate electricity. The unit will remain on “reserve shutdown” through Oct. 1, meaning that Xcel can generate electricity using natural gas in the unit if an emergency occurs over the summer.
Xcel said the generation was replaced by a new natural gas-fired generator at the Cherokee Generating Station in north Denver.
Most of the coal burned at the plant over the past five years has come from Peabody’s Foidel Creek mine, also known as Twentymile, and Arch’s West Elk mine, which together sold the plant more than 2.6 million tons at a delivered cost of nearly $176.8 million from 2011 to 2016, according to data compiled by S&P Global Market Intelligence.
($) Peabody, Arch lose major customer as Colo. power plant stops burning coal