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Location: Boulder, Colo.
Plant Description: Valmont Station has two Xcel Energy operating units. Unit V5 is a coal-fired, steam-electric generating unit that can also use natural gas as fuel. Unit V6 is a combustion turbine that uses natural gas as fuel. Southwest Generation also owns and operates two 40 MW combustion turbines that are located on site.
Power Production Capabilities: 229 megawatts (MW): V5 – 186 MW and V6 – 43 MW
Fuel Source: Low-sulfur coal from western Colorado mines and natural gas.
Construction of Valmont Station began in 1921. Unit one went into service in 1924. Valmont was the largest power station west of the Missouri River after Unit 4 was brought into service in 1942, and it remained the company's largest Colorado generating station for several decades with a total capacity of 122.5 MW. These four units stopped generating power in 1986. Unit 5 (V5) went into service in 1964 and can burn either coal or natural gas. The unit uses three surrounding lakes for circulating cooling water. Unit 6 (V6) began generating electricity in 1973.
Unit 5 uses three surrounding reservoirs for circulating cooling water. These reservoirs attract a variety of wildlife, including an abundance of waterfowl. For decades the plant site has been recognized as a unique wildlife refuge. Southwest Generation owns and operates two 40 MW natural gas-fired combustion turbines and a 43 MW steam turbine at the site. Xcel Energy purchases Southwest Generation's electric output. From January through early Valmont Station spring, great horned owls use a nest box located about 260’ up one of the plant’s three stacks. We have installed a camera in the box so the public can watch nesting activities and learn more about the owls on Xcel Energy’s Owl Cam, available at xcelenergy.com.
Clean Air Clean Jobs Act
In spring of 2010, the Colorado Legislature passed the Clean Air-Clean Jobs Act, which Xcel Energy supported. The legislation requires regulated utilities, like Xcel Energy, to work to reduce emissions from coal-fired power plants. As a result, Valmont unit 5 will be shut down by 2017.
Technology helps reduce plant emissions. Air emissions are controlled on V5 with low-NOx burners that reduce nitrogen oxide emissions. The plant also has a baghouse that acts like a giant vacuum cleaner, removing particulate emissions from the flue gas by more than 99 percent. As part of Xcel Energy’s voluntary emission reduction effort in the Denver metro area, a scrubber was installed to reduce sulfur dioxide emissions.
Valmont Station strives to be a responsible neighbor and steward of the special habitat that surrounds the plant. Employees support a number of community organizations and projects, including an annual golf tournament that helps raise money for local charities. Employees also helped develop an educational tree trail at the plant entrance, which features approximately 20 varieties of trees that grow well in the northern Front Range and Colorado. We also cooperate with local community groups and have hosted a number of events, including special plant tours and annual bird counts.
Our products and services differ based on state. Please select your state (or the state you're interested in) from the list to the left.
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.