This Thursday, the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission (PUC) will hold its final hearing on Xcel Energy’s 15-year energy plan, which would double the amount of wind and solar on the utility’s system, according to an announcement from Fresh Energy and the Sierra Club.
The plan – which follows two years of rigorous study by Xcel – also calls for taking significant strides to reduce coal by retiring Sherco units 1 and 2 in the mid-2020s. A key issue to be addressed at the hearing is a process to determine the best replacement resources for the coal plants.
According to the environmental groups, some parties advocate for a large natural gas plant to be approved on the existing site in Becker; however, clean energy organizations and large industrial users would like to maintain flexibility. Namely, renewable energy options continue to decrease in cost and increase in value competitively against gas – without the climate, environmental and health impacts that come along with gas, the groups say.