Updated 12:22 pm | Posted 10:30 am
Xcel Energy announced Monday that the two remaining midwestern coal-fired power plants are scheduled to close a decade ahead of schedule to make supply in the region carbon-free by 2030.
The Company also intends to keep its Monticello, Minnesota nuclear power plant operational until at least 2040, ten years after the expiration of its current license, as it increases the production of wind and solar energy.
Xcel announced that it will submit its plan to the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission in July. If approved, the company announced that it would reduce carbon emissions in the region by more than 80 percent by 2030 compared to 2005 levels.
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Xcel CEO Ben Fowke said the changes would not lead to significantly higher utility bills for utilities.
"We believe we can do so at or below the cost of inflation." Fowke told reporters in a phone call on Monday morning. "It will not be free, but it will be very cost effective and, above all, very good compared to other alternative plans."
According to Xcel's suggestion, Sherco 3, the region's last coal-fired power plant, would be completed in 2030 after the closure of the Allen S. King coal power plant at Oak Park Heights in 2028.
The plan includes Xcel's plans to purchase the natural gas plant Mankato Energy Center and the construction of a natural gas plant in Becker, where the Sherco plants are located.
Xcel owns thousands of acres of land around Sherco. Becker and Xcel have been working to attract new businesses to fill this space and replace some of the jobs lost through the failure of coal generators. The city is working to build a Google data center.
Green and renewable energy advocates welcomed Xcel's announcement to accelerate the closure of coal-fired power plants. 19659007] • March: Can Minnesota talk about new nuclear energy while there is still a ban?
Clean energy companies approved only the decommissioning data for coal, not the nuclear plan or the entire resource plan that has not yet been released Allen Gleckner Senior Director of Energy Markets and Regulatory Affairs for the Fresh Energy Group.
Minnesota has two nuclear power plants in operation – Prairie Island, near Red Wing, Minnesota and Monticello. Both are owned by Xcel and expire in the 2030s.
Xcel's attempt to extend its license at the Monticello nuclear power plant, while delaying decommissioning data from two coal-fired power plants, was part of a comprehensive agreement with environmental organizations to buy the Mankato natural gas power plant.
The energy supplier's decision to accelerate the closure of its coal-fired power plants was "a really big deal," said Gleckner. "These are the largest greenhouse gas and carbon emitting sources in the Xcel system and Xcel is the largest electricity supplier in Minnesota."