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Xcel Energy's planned changes will change Pueblo's workforce

Pueblo Coal Plant
Posted at 7:54 PM, Oct 15, 2019
and last updated 2019-10-15 21:57:27-04

PUEBLO — Pueblo's skyline has remained the same for years, smoke stacks from the old Comanche Coal Plant and the steel mill.

Soon though, the city's energy plans will change the city's workforce.

News 5 has been tracking Xcel's plans to close two coal-fired plants a decade early to make way for things like solar power. The first will go in 2022 and put dozens of people out of a job. That could mean having to relocate, re-train, or change careers. Xcel has promised to find those workers a job but what those jobs look like is still unclear.

Xcel Energy's president, Alice Jackson said cutting ties with coal isn't about politics but good old fashioned economics and saving people money. However, not everyone is buying it.

"Xcel has chosen the most expensive way to be the least environmentally sound. It sounds like they're doing a great job," said Pueblo resident, John Caldara.

Caldara questioned why Xcel isn't looking at carbon capture technology at the plant and the overall savings.

Xcel said the math adds up and will help the utility in its ambitious goal of a zero carbon system by 2050.

City councilman Larry Atencio said he supports the reinvention of the city.

"We're very proud of the fact that we have over 300 days of sunshine in this city and we're going to use them to power our way into the future," said Atencio.