As part of a plan to reduce carbon emissions across its Upper Midwest footprint through the use of more renewables, nuclear energy and natural gas, Xcel Energy said it will retire its last two coal-burning plants in the region a decade earlier than previously scheduled.
Xcel said it will submit a plan this summer to the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission that would lead to a more than 80% reduction in carbon emissions in the region by 2030 compared with 2005, and expects to provide 100% carbon-free electricity by 2050.
Xcel now plans to close the Allen S. King coal plant in 2028 and the Sherco 3 coal plant in 2030.
In November Xcel said it would buy the 760 MW gas-fired Mankato Energy Center in Southern Minnesota from Southern Power for $650 million. Xcel has purchased power from the plants first unit since 2006 and has an agreement for the energy from a second unit that is due to begin operating this year. Xcel also expects to add 1,850 MW of wind power by 2022 and more than 3,000 MW of solar energy by 2030, and plans to continue the use of its 671 MW nuclear plant in Monticello, MN, until at least 2040.
The announcement follows Xcel's unveiling last year of a $2.5 billion proposal to reduce carbon emissions in Colorado. The company's plans there call for more than 1,700 MW to be added, including 380 MW of natural gas-fired generation, nearly 1,100 MW of wind generation and 275 MW of large-scale battery storage, split between two existing power sites. Two coal-fired power plants in Pueblo County would be closed.
Xcel's Colorado plan is expected to result in a 60% reduction in carbon pollution.