Breakthrough Decision in Minnesota To Transition Xcel Energy Electricity

October 2016

The Minnesota Public Utilities Commission held its final hearing and unanimously approved with modifications Xcel Energy’s 15-year energy plan (Integrated Resource Plan).

After two years of challenging and deep study, Xcel Energy proposed a Midwest-leading energy plan for the next 15 years – doubling the amount of wind and solar on its system and taking significant strides to reduce coal with the retiring of Sherco units 1 and 2 in 2023 and 2026, respectively. Xcel’s proposed energy plan saw broad support from customers, including over 10,000 Minnesotans; cities of Becker, Red Wing, and Minneapolis; Sherburne County; clean energy organizations, and the St. Paul Area Chamber of Commerce. The MN PUC unanimously approved:

  • Retirement of Sherco 2 & 1 in 2023 and 2026, respectively, and a process to identify approximately 750 MW of intermediate capacity replacement resources for 2026 that considers existing location and grid reliability needs;
  • Add at least 1000 MW of cost-effective wind resources by 2019;
  • Add at least 650 MW of solar by 2021 through community solar gardens or other cost-effective solar
  •  And more goals for energy efficiency and conservation.
  • In next resource plan, describe possible scenarios for cost-effective and orderly retirement of its coal and nuclear fleet which is reaching the end of its life, including Sherco, King, Monticello and Prairie Island.
  • Xcel Energy’s next 15-year energy plan filing is due February 1, 2019. 

“Getting this much coal out of our electricity system is going to be a great thing for Minnesotans. I’m extremely pleased with the PUC’s decision, because it recognizes the importance of moving off of coal as quickly as possible for our health, our climate, and our economy; and we can start planning right now for this major transition,” said Leigh Currie, Energy Program Director and Staff Attorney at MCEA, who represented clean energy interests at the Public Utilities Commission. “The investments that Xcel is proposing in clean, renewable energy as a component of this resource plan are nation-leading,” said Wind on the Wires Executive Director Beth Soholt. “We are pleased to see the Commission recognize the benefits of  Xcel’s proposed near-term investments in wind, which we are confident will provide long-term benefits for their customers and drive new opportunities for the growing clean energy economy in greater Minnesota.”

The official MN Public Utility Commission Order was released on 1/11/2017. Order available here

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