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Colorado PUC Hits Brakes on 2.1 GW of Renewables // Storm Batters East Cost Power System

Welcome to Grid Brief! Here’s what we’re looking at today: Colorado steps away from 2.1 GW of renewables, an East Coast storm leaves customers in the dark, and more.

Colorado PUC Hits Brakes on 2.1 GW of Renewables

Photo by Mike Scheid on Unsplash

The Colorado Public Utility Commission delayed substantial parts of Xcel’s $15 billion clean energy plan. The PUC postponed wind and solar projects, as well as about $3 billion in transmission.

“The alternative plan Colorado regulators approved includes 5,835 MW of new resources compared with almost 7,200 MW in the preferred portfolio,” reports Utility Dive. “The alternative plan also reduces the share of new generation that Xcel would own, from roughly two-thirds to about 50-50.”

The regulator paused on the projects so it can more prudently move forward with regards to cost, especially concerning transmission. “If we approve all the generation that’s in the preferred plan, I’m concerned that we may be obligated to the new transmission no matter what the costs,” PUC Chairman Eric Blank told Utility Dive.

Xcel initially suggested 3,406 MW of wind capacity, yet received approval for only 1,700 MW. Likewise, their solar proposal of 1,969 MW was cut to 1,619 MW. Approved storage resources totaled 1,848 MW, differing from the utility’s desired portfolio of 1,170 MW.

The Colorado PUC’s cautious approach reflects a downbeat swing in the renewable energy sector. A recent report from Alpha Sense, an energy analytics firm, shows that renewable energy profit margins shrank sector-wide this year. Recently, solar equipment manufacturer Enphase cut 10% of its staff, citing market turbulence. SunPower, rooftop solar firm, also saw its stock slide 41% on Monday.

Storm Batters East Cost Power System

The East Coast is getting hammered by a storm that has left hundreds of thousands without power.

Flood warnings have stretched from Maine to South Carolina. As we mentioned in this week’s Monopoly Area Monday, Florida has already been battered by the storm.

“From Virginia to Maine, 701,766 customers were without power, with more than 270,000 in the dark in Massachusetts,” reports Bloomberg. Hundreds of flights have also been cancelled as a result of the storm.

Experts say the storm is only going to grow more powerful, with some places potentially seeing wind speeds as high as 70mph.

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