AMARILLO, Texas (KAMR/KCIT) – Xcel Energy has announce that they intend to convert the Harrington Generating Station northeast of Amarillo into a natural gas fuel system by Jan. 1, 2025.

Xcel says they have been working with the Texas Commissions on Environmental Quality on a plan to keep Potter County within attainment of federal emission standards. Those emission standards regulate the cumulative amount of sulfur dioxide emitted in the county.

“Natural gas power generation allows us to use a regionally-produced commodity to provide energy to thousands of area customers as we continue on our path to a clean energy future,” said David Hudson, president, Xcel Energy – New Mexico, Texas. “Additionally, gas-fired generation is easier to ramp up and down to complement our growing supply of clean wind energy.”

According to Xcel Energy, while they are not the only source of sulfur dioxide emission in the county, their efforts to reduce emission at Harrington have the greatest impact.

Harrington has been a coal-fueled generating station since the first of its three units was built in 1976. Xcel energy says, all three units were designed to burn natural gas as well, so switching the units to gas will have the least cost impact and allows us to use an abundant generating fuel that is produced within our service territory, and one that burns much cleaner than coal.

“While we anticipate some costs to convert Harrington to natural gas, all three of the plant’s boilers were designed to burn both coal and natural gas, which greatly reduces the cost of conversion,” Hudson said. “The existing boiler, steam turbines and electric generators will continue to be used as they have since the 1970s.”