The Colorado Governor's Energy Office today released the Strategic Renewables and Transmission Report (STAR Report). While we intend to provide a more detailed assessment of the study in consecutive blog postings, we provide brief highlights below. The study was intended to identify new drivers needed for sustained orderly development of Colorado's electricity sector out to the year 2050. In producing the report, the STAR project produced a 38-page detailed modeling of Colorado's electricity sector out to the year 2050. The modeling revealed five key actions necessary to secure Colorado's strategic electric power sector:
1. Energy efficiency
2. More utility scale renewable energy generation
3. Extra-high voltage transmission
4. Decreased coal fired generation
5. Increased natural gas fired generation - "of critical importance, the state must expand deployment of natural gas fired generation."
The report emphasizes a comprehensive view of energy and infrastructure to support cleaner power generation in the state. Key to growth in the electricity sector is the potential to leverage the state's strengths (natural gas and renewable energy) and manage air and water constraints.
"Results of the STAR modeling analysis quantify the need for a substantial increase in natural gas generation in Colorado's electric power system, amounting to approximately 6,500 MW of additional gas-fired capacity by the year 2050 under a load growth scenario of 1.7 percent per year. This increase is necessary to meet load growth, displace aging coal-fired generation and provide necessary firming and integration of renewable resource generation. Natural gas will play a major role in producing better environmental performance in the electricity sector, including CO2 reductions . . . State-of-the-art forecasting is increasingly proving its value to enable efficient co-scheduling of wind, solar, and natural gas power. Advances in this area will allow the industry to maximize every megawatt of renewable capacity, resulting in a more reliable power supply, with attendant benefits - including environmental - and more stable prices."
Finally, the report highlights the need for policy-makers to conduct a comprehensive review of the "opportunities for gas-fired generation, or renewable energy or both, and the associated transmission and pipeline infrastructure requirements and policy guidance that will allow these cleaner resources to displace the retirement of coal-fired generation."
To access the report and its supporting documentation, click here.