After years of Xcel Energy arguing that there’s no conceivable way they would shut down the coal-burning generator at Valmont Station east of Boulder (in part because the boiler is one of the most efficient in the utility’s system), the company announced Friday, that actually they will shut the plant down by 2017.
For activists who have staged a number of protests at the plant over the last couple of years, the announcement was good news. (But better news, some said, would have been an announcement that the plant, which spews 44 pounds of mercury into the air every year, would close immediately.)
The three natural gas-fired generators a the plant will continue operating.
Somebody recently told me that she was surprised at the number of oil rigs she saw around Colorado on her first trip through the rest of the state — a loop from Boulder to Mesa Verde and back. But Colorado has always been known for being rich in something under the ground and when you get out into any kind of open space, you’re bound to see some kind of rig.
Out of curiosity, I went poking around the Colorado Oil and Gas Commission’s website and found a couple of nice at-a-glance items. Everybody knows Colorado is rich in natural gas, so here’s a quick look at how much natural gas and oil Colorado produced from 1995-2000 for comparison. Note that the numbers are not directly comparable because the oil is measured in barrels (BBL) and the gas is measured per thousand cubic feed (Mcf) and oil is a liquid and gas is a, er, you know…
Those numbers feel a little dusty, though, so here are Colorado’s oil numbers for 2009 [PDF], again by county.
And finally, to bring it home, here, you can search the Commission’s database by county, well or field to find out local information.
I’m thinking about all of this because the Post has a story today about some Colorado towns hoping for an economic boost from new oil drilling, thanks to a new oil drilling technology: Read more