AMARILLO, Texas (KAMR/KCIT) — As Xcel Energy retires older power plants and moves away from coal, the company aims to become a leader in renewables.
On Friday, MyHighPlains.com crews visited Xcel Energy’s coal-powered Harrington Generation Station northeast of Amarillo. The plant is set to be converted to run on natural gas by 2025.
“Part of the reason for that is our commitment as a company to lower carbon emissions and also to meet some regulatory requirements such as sulfur emissions,” said Steven Koskei, the engineering superintendent at the Harrington station. “And so that’s part of the reason why we’re going to be converting all three units to natural gas.”
Koskei said they already have natural gas at the Harrington station that they use for startup.
“So, one of the things we’ll really benefit from is flexibility to be able to start and stop the units faster,” he said. “It’s easier to do that because it’s so reliable and also, it’s less equipment to use and so we can ramp up faster and meet demand.”
Koskei said Xcel Energy does what they call “cycling” to diversify their mix of resources. He added that they always start with renewable resources.
“So, when there’s so much wind, this unit won’t be running. We shut it down,” he said. “And so the wind is actually leading as far as output, and then when the wind kind of draws down, then that’s when we start the units back up. And so we’ll be doing that mix to allow us to, to be, you know, fewer emissions out there because of running wind and renewables versus fossil fuel.”
Koskei said Xcel Energy hopes it will start a trend.
“The company’s trying to be a leader as far as renewables. So not just wind, solar, and batteries are also something that the company is looking into and by doing that, we’re just leading the way for other companies.”
According to Xcel Energy, additional wind and solar power is likely in the future, plus they are exploring the feasibility of other technologies.
The company also said their Tolk Station coal units will be retired in 2028, and older gas units will be retired as well.
For the latest Amarillo news and regional updates, check with MyHighPlains.com and tune in to KAMR Local 4 News at 5:00, 6:00, and 10:00 p.m. and Fox 14 News at 9:00 p.m. CST.