Colorado

Aug 30, 2010 9:39 AM by Bea Karnes, News First 5

Hearing on Xcel energy plan

State regulators are gathering comment on Xcel Energy's plan to use less coal to produce electricity.

The Colorado Public Utilities Commission will hold a hearing on the plan Monday in Grand Junction starting at 6 p.m.

Xcel has proposed spending $1.3 billion to convert coal-fired power plants to natural gas in Denver and close a coal plant in Boulder. The aim is to comply with a new Colorado law aimed at cutting pollution from power plants.

Critics objected to having the state favor natural gas over coal and also questioned whether electric rates could rise because of the volatility of gas prices.

Backers, including environmentalists, say gas is cleaner burning than coal and the coal plants at issue are at the end of their useful life.

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