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Xcel's Southwestern Public Service coal mix rises to 22% in December: filing


Utility burned $9.6 million worth of PRB coal

Coal's dispatch price rises to $17.31/MWh

Houston — Southwestern Public Service Company's coal generation mix rose to 22% in December, while its natural gas/oil mix fell to 10.9%, a state regulatory filing showed Feb. 23.

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The utility, a subsidiary of Xcel Energy, said to the Public Utility Commission of Texas it burned over $9.6 million worth of Powder River Basin coal in December at its 1,018-MW Harrington coal-fired power plant in Amarillo and its 1,067-MW Tolk Station in Muleshoe, up from $3.68 million worth of coal burned in November, which made up 19.8% of the generation mix. Gas had a generation share of 14.8% in November.

In the year-ago month, the utility burned $10.03 million worth of coal at a 33.2% capacity factor, resulting in a 20% generation mix.

The two plants generated 554,470 MWh of power in December, or 3.97 Bcf, while operating at a 35.7% capacity factor. The company's six gas/oil plants generated 273,804 MWh of power, or 3.28 Bcf, at a 15.6% capacity factor.

On a cost per MMBtu basis, the coal plants were at $2.42/MMBtu in December, and the gas plants were at $2.74/MMBtu, while the average dispatch price for coal was $17.31/MWh, compared with $32.83/MWh for gas/oil. Coal's dispatch price was $9.36/MWh in November and $19.51/MWh in December 2019.

In December, Southwestern Public Service bought 221,803 st of 8,825 Btu/lb coal from Tuco, Inc., a coal supplier, down from 235,173 st in November and 313,046 st in the year-ago month. About 248,061 st of coal went to the Harrington plant in December, while 84,083 st went to the Tolk Station. However, 110,341 st were listed as prior adjustments.

The company bought over 3.93 Bcf of coal in December, while gas purchases totaled 3.31 Bcf.

From January through November, Southwestern Public Service Company took delivery of 2.62 million st of 8,883 Btu/lb PRB coal at an average delivered cost of $30.35/st, according to data from the US Energy Information Administration. The Harrington plant took delivery of 1.63 million st at an average price of $28.39/st, while 992,903 st was shipped to the Tolk Station at $32.54/st.

About 69% of the coal supplied by Tuco came from the North Antelope Rochelle mine, while the remaining 31% was from the Black Thunder mine. Both are located in Campbell County, Wyoming, according to the data.

In 2019, the company bought 4.03 million st of coal at an average $30.32/st.

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