coal

The way Westar Energy runs its coal plants in Kansas unnecessarily costs consumers millions of dollars a year through an obscure, if common, practice known as self-committing generation.

More than a dozen new energy and environment bills are headed to Gov. Jared Polis for a signature. They cover an array of issues from the oversight of electrical generating companies to how companies have to factor climate change into their decision making to the nitty gritty of how oil and gas drilling is governed in the state.

As climate scientists sound the alarm on the effects of rising global temperatures, many of Colorado's electric utilities are shifting their focus to a popular and potentially profitable goal: zero-carbon.

But they're also stuck with one important question: How do they actually get there?

Wikimedia Commons

Xcel Energy’s plan to boost renewables was approved by Colorado regulators Monday.

As The Denver Post reports, Xcel Energy Colorado plans to boost the share of power it gets from wind and solar and retire a third of its coal generation.

The Colorado Public Utilities Commission voted 2 to 1 in support of Xcel’s Colorado Energy Plan, which the company says will increase its renewable energy sources to 55 percent within the next eight years.

Energy Secretary Rick Perry said this week that the Department of Energy is working on a plan to subsidize coal and nuclear power in the name of national security. While the details are scarce, the idea’s been the subject of speculation and criticism from energy experts, environmentalists and grid operators.

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Renewable wind and solar energy, along with a booming natural gas industry, continue to win the battle over coal in Texas.

As The Huntsville Tribune reports, last year Texas lost 455 coal-mining jobs, more than any other state. And the state’s biggest power supplier, Luminant, announced that it would be shuttering two massive coal-fired plants this year.

Wallethub

The average American family spends $2,000 per year on energy. But some states are far more energy efficient than others. The personal finance website Wallethub set out to discover which states are doing more with less energy.