Xcel Energy has issued an RFP in Minnesota for approximately 1.2 GW of new wind projects as the company fully retires its remaining coal units, which is expected by the end of 2030.
The utility is seeking projects located in southwest Minnesota with a planned commercial operation date by the end of 2027. These new wind resources, combined with solar and energy storage projects, will replace the capacity of the coal-fired Sherco plant in Becker.
The transition is part of the company’s Upper Midwest Integrated Resource Plan. Approved by the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission in 2022, the plan outlines how Xcel Energy will aggressively reduce carbon emissions.
“Xcel Energy is a national leader in wind energy, which has saved our Upper Midwest customers $1.6 billion since 2017,” says Chris Clark, president, Xcel Energy – Minnesota, South Dakota and North Dakota. “Wind energy is abundant across the states we serve, and we’re excited to see developers’ proposals that will benefit our customers.”
Xcel Energy has led the clean energy transition for nearly two decades, and the company is on track to reduce carbon emissions 85% from customers’ electricity in the Upper Midwest by 2030. The company shares a vision with the state to deliver 100% clean energy in Minnesota by 2040.
The utility’s proposed Minnesota Energy Connection transmission line would deliver 2 GW of renewable energy, including this new wind energy, to the grid at Sherco. The line is under review at the Public Utilities Commission and would run 160-180 miles from Lyon County to Becker. By reusing Sherco’s existing grid connections, Xcel Energy can provide customers with power in the most efficient and cost-effective way.
The Sherco site plays an important role in the Upper Midwest’s clean energy future. In April, the company broke ground on the Upper Midwest’s largest solar project near the plant site. Once complete, the 710 MW Sherco Solar project will generate enough electricity to power more than 150,000 homes each year on average and fully replace the first Sherco coal unit, which is scheduled to retire later this year. The company has also received state approval on a long-duration battery storage pilot project at the site.
More information about the RFP can be found here.