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Coal's share of Southwestern Public Service stack falls to 8.8% in April: filing


Utility burned $3.79 million worth of PRB coal

Coal's dispatch price climbs to $20.06/MWh

Houston — Coal's share of Southwestern Public Service Co.'s generation mix fell to 8.8% in April, while natural gas and oil's slice of the pie dropped to 25.5%, according to a regulatory filing published June 12.

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The utility, a subsidiary of Xcel Energy, told the Public Utility Commission of Texas it burned $3.79 million worth of Powder River Basin coal in April at its 1,018-MW Harrington coal-fired plant in Amarillo, Texas, and its 1,067-MW Tolk Station in Muleshoe, Texas, down from $4.05 million worth of coal burned in March, which translated into 9.9% of the generation mix.

In the year-ago month, the utility's coal units burned $5.54 million worth of fuel at a 20.3% capacity factor, resulting in a 14% share of the generation stack.

The two plants generated 189,161 MWh of power in April, or 2.27 million MMBtu, while operating at a 12.6% capacity factor. The company's six gas/oil plants generated 547,947 MWh of power, or 6.21 million MMBtu, while running at a 32.2% capacity factor.

On a cost per MMBtu basis, the coal plants ran at $1.67/MMBtu in April, while the gas plants operated at 71 cents/MMBtu, while the average dispatch price for coal was $20.06/MWh, compared with $7.99/MWh for gas/oil. Coal's dispatch price was $19/MWh in March and $18.22/MWh in April 2019.

In April, Southwestern Public Service bought 121,996 st of 8,825 Btu/lb coal from Tuco, down from 133,304 st in March and 184,989 st in the year-ago month. About 67,950 st of coal went to the Harrington plant in April, while the remaining 54,046 st went to Tolk Station.

On an MMBtu basis, the company bought over 2.17 million MMBtu of coal in April, while gas purchases totaled 6.3 million MMBtu.

In 2019, Southwestern Public Service bought 4.03 million st of 8,875 Btu/lb PRB coal at an average delivered cost of $30.32/st, according to data from the US Energy Information Administration. The Harrington plant took delivery of 2.36 million st at an average price of $28.35/st, while 1.67 million st was shipped to Tolk Station at $32.29/st.

About 86% of the coal supplied by Tuco came from the Black Thunder mine, while the remaining 14% was from the North Antelope Rochelle mine, which are both located in Campbell County, Wyoming, according to the data.

Southwestern Public Service Company serves 400,000 electric customers in Texas and New Mexico.