Xcel Energy plans biomass demo project in Colorado

DENVER (AP) -- Xcel Energy Inc. is asking Colorado regulators to approve a demonstration project that would use forest biomass to generate electricity.

David Eves of Xcel's Public Service Co. of Colorado says the project would help determine Xcel's potential for using biomass to provide electricity, as well as show whether using up drought-weakened, beetle-infested trees in Colorado can improve forest health and reduce the threat of catastrophic wildfires.

Some areas with weakened, dead or infested trees are close to Xcel's service territory and could affect the utility's infrastructure.

If the Colorado Public Utilities Commission approves, Xcel said Monday it would seek bids for a 10-year power purchase agreement for up to two megawatts from a biomass facility. It says it would report to the commission on potential projects by October.