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Comanche Generating Station

Comanche Generating Station

Unit 3 has a low-water use system that provides additional cooling capability, reducing water use half


Location:  Pueblo, Colo.

Plant Description: Comanche is a coal-fired, steam-electric generating station with three operating units. The addition of the plant’s Unit 3 is significant. It is Colorado’s first advanced, highly efficient, supercritical coal unit that can generate more electricity with less fuel. As our most efficient coal-fired power plant, it saves our customers money because it displaces higher cost electric generating units and reduces the need to purchase additional electricity from other sources. Unit 3 also provided the operational flexibility to retire older, less efficient coal-fired plants on our system. Also, Comanche Station is the first plant in Colorado to control mercury emissions. The entire plant’s mercury emissions are lower than they were prior to the addition of Comanche 3.

Xcel Energy has two partners in Unit 3: Intermountain Rural Electric Association
(IREA) of Sedalia, Colo. (25 percent) and Holy Cross Energy (8 percent). Xcel Energy operates the entire plant.

Power Production Capabilities : 1,426 megawatts (MW): Unit 1-325 MW, Unit 2-335 MW and Unit 3-766 MW. Comanche Station is the largest power plant in Colorado.

Fuel Source: Low-sulfur coal from the Powder River Basin near Gillette, Wyo.

Plant History

Comanche began on Unit 1 in April 1971.  It went into service in November 1973.  Unit 2 construction began in July 1973, and it went into service in December 1975.  The third unit was proposed and approved in 2004, construction began in fall of 2005 and the unit went into service in July 2010.

Interesting Features

Comanche Station is located one-quarter mile from Evraz Steel Mill in Pueblo. Evraz is the single largest commercial account for Xcel Energy in Colorado and the only direct electric customer in the immediate area. 

Environmental Highlights

Air Emissions: Air emissions are controlled at Comanche Station by baghouses on all three units. Baghouses act like giant vacuum cleaners, removing more than 99 percent of particulate emissions from the flue gas. All units have low-nitrogen oxide (NOx) burners to control NOx, and lime-spray dryers to control sulfur dioxide (SO2) emissions. Activated carbon injection is used to control mercury emissions on all three units. Unit 3 has a selective catalytic reduction (SCR) system to also reduce NOx emissions. As a result of the plant’s environmental improvements, overall SO2 and NOx emissions at Comanche Station are lower, even with an additional unit on line. 

The plant uses about 10,000 acre-feet of water each year for cooling equipment and producing steam that turns turbine generators. In early summer of 2002, employees at Comanche Station responded to drought conditions in Colorado by investigating opportunities to conserve water at the plant. A variety of conservation projects were implemented, helping Comanche Station significantly reduce its overall water consumption. The new unit has a low-water use system (air cooled condenser). This system provides additional cooling capability, thus reducing water use on this unit by about half.

Community Involvement

Comanche Station is an active member of the Pueblo community, providing public tours for community groups and hosting open houses for local residents. The plant works with a neighboring non-profit organization, the El Pueblo Boys and Girls Ranch, and has provided support for the organization's board and supported other events, such as hosting fishing days for the students. Comanche employees support a variety of other causes, including Junior Achievement, 4H, Pueblo Soap Box Derby, United Way, Operation Paint Brush, community food drives, career fairs, a job shadow program for local high school students and training for local emergency preparedness organizations.

For more information contact:

Colorado Plant Information and Tour Request
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