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Cherokee Generating Station

Cherokee Generating Station

Cherokee Station is one of our largest Colorado power plants in terms of power production capability


Location: Just north of downtown Denver.

Plant Description: Cherokee Station is a coal-fired, steam-electric generating station with three operating units. The plant also is capable of burning natural gas as fuel.

Power Production Capabilities: 611 megawatts (MW): Unit 1 – 107 MW, Unit 3 – 152 MW and Unit 4 – 352 MW.

Fuel Source: Low-sulfur coal supplied by several mines in western Colorado, including Twentymile Mine, Colowyo Mine, West Elk Mine and Powderhorn Mine.

Plant History

Cherokee Station began operating in 1957 when Unit 1 went into service. It was followed by Unit 2 in 1959, Unit 3 in 1962 and Unit 4 in 1968.

Interesting Features

Cherokee Station is one of Xcel Energy's largest Colorado power plants in terms of power production capability.

Environmental Highlights

Air emissions are controlled at Cherokee Station by baghouses installed on all three units. Baghouses act like giant vacuum cleaners, removing particulate emissions from the flue gas by more than 99 percent.

The units have low-NOx burners that reduce nitrogen oxide (NOx) emissions by about 40 percent.

Unit 1 also has dry sorbent injection (DSI) systems, and Unit 3 has lime spray dryers. These controls, added as part of Xcel Energy’s voluntary Denver Metro Emission Reduction Plan, will reduce Cherokee's SO2 emissions by about 70 percent from uncontrolled levels.

Cherokee Repowering and Natural Gas Pipeline Projects

Xcel Energy is beginning to implement its Colorado Public Utilities Commission-approved Clean Air-Clean Jobs plan. We will early retire Cherokee Units 1, 2 and 3 (365 MW), which operate on coal, and install a cleaner, more efficient natural gas plant (569 MW) at the plant site. We also will switch Cherokee Unit 4 from using coal to natural gas (352 MW).

Here is our anticipated Cherokee repowering project schedule:

  • Unit 2 (106 MW) was retired October 2011
  • Unit 1 (107 MW) retired by June 2012
  • Unit 3 (152 MW) retired by 2015
  • New, 569 MW natural gas combined-cycle generating plant comes online in 2015
  • Unit 4 (352 MW) switched to natural gas in 2017

A new pipeline is needed to deliver the natural gas to our Cherokee power plant for this conversion.

We are proposing to construct approximately 34 miles of new 24” steel gas transmission pipeline from a new Ft. Lupton gas metering facility to the Cherokee Generating Station. Construction on the new natural gas pipeline would begin in 2013 with an anticipated in-service date of Oct. 1, 2014.

For more information about this gas pipeline project, including updates, route maps, project schedule, contacts and more, please visit the Cherokee Project website related link.

For more information about the Clean Air Clean Jobs Act, please visit our website related link located in the top right corner of this page.

Community Involvement

Cherokee Station hosts a number of tours and special programs throughout the year for various groups and organizations in the Denver metro area. Plant employees also are active supporters of United Way.

The plant has also partnered with Audubon Colorado to install a Wildscapes demonstration garden on plant property.  Wildscapes gardens provide important features that invite wild creatures and encourage them to stay—shelter, nesting opportunities, food and water.  Situates in an area accessible to public tours, the garden is visible to hundreds of visitors that tour Cherokee Station each year.

For more information contact:

Colorado Plant Information and Tour Request
Colorado Media Inquiries
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Why do our products and services differ based on state? Because our business is regulated by state. We have regulated operations in eight Western and Midwestern states. The different regulatory body for each state we serve determines what products and services we deliver in that state.