Minnesota Coal Plants Closure Includes Historic Efficiency Push

As Xcel Energy prepares a filing to shut its last coal plants in Minnesota, a lesser-known plan of the settlement announced in May

The agreement with clean power organizations and a labor union confirmed in early May needs Xcel to shut the last two coal plants it operates in Minnesota, the Allen S. King office in Stillwater and Sherburne County Generating Station (Sherco) Unit 3. Also, the utility committed to constructing 3,000 megawatts of photovoltaic power.

Recent Energy, which publishes the Energy News Network, is, without doubt, one of the parties to the agreement.

Clean energy institutions, in return, will back the utility’s purchase of a natural gas plant in Mankato and no less than some cost restoration on the coal facilities. The factors reached in the settlement will be incorporated into the utility’s integrated resource plan that can be presented July 1 to the Public Utilities Commission.

The efficiency target — to be delivered in 2020 as a part of Xcel’s built-in resource plan — requires lowering demand by an 830 megawatts, stated Mike Bull, director of policy and external affairs for the Center for Power and Environment.

Trading a natural gas plant for new photovoltaic and efficiency investments made a discount acceptable to most clean power organizations, which often question the knowledge of any further investments in fossil fuel foundation as the impacts of the climate crisis are more and more felt.

While advisory in nature, the settlement is anticipated to have some influence as administrators begin analyzing Xcel’s resource plan.