Xcel Energy announced plans today to retire its last two coal plants in the Upper Midwest a decade earlier than scheduled. The acceleration of the coal closures is another milestone in the company’s clean energy transition that includes expanding wind and solar, using cleaner natural gas and operating its carbon-free Monticello nuclear plant until at least 2040.
The plan outlines a path to make the transition while ensuring reliability and keeping costs low for customers. As part of this plan, the company has reached an agreement with a coalition of environmental and labor organizations on key elements of the plan relating to its coal, solar and natural gas plans.
These plans are part of the proposed Upper Midwest Energy Plan, which the company will submit for approval to the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission in July. If approved, the plan would lead to a more than 80% reduction in carbon emissions in the region by 2030, compared to 2005, a key stepping stone toward the company achieving its vision to provide customers 100% carbon-free electricity by 2050.
Key milestones in the company’s industry-leading clean energy transition include:
- 2022 – Completion of the company’s largest-ever wind expansion, adding 1,850 MW of wind. At that point, more than 30% of customers’ energy in the Upper Midwest will come from wind.
- 2030 – More than 50% of our customers’ energy in the region will be from renewables, as the transition continues with:
- Closure in 2030 of our final coal plant in the region, the Sherco 3 plant, following the closure of the Allen S. King coal plant in 2028.
- A major expansion of solar energy, with more than 3,000 MW of new universal solar added by 2030.
“This is a significant step forward as we are on track to reduce carbon emissions more than 80% by 2030 and transform the way we deliver energy to our customers,” said Chris Clark, president, Xcel Energy – Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota. “Accelerating the closure of our coal plants and leading this clean energy transition would not be possible without the dedication and support of our key stakeholders. We thank them for their work to put us on a path to deliver 100% carbon-free electricity by 2050.”
While the company prepared its long-term plan, it also worked closely with a coalition of groups, including environmental and labor organizations on an agreement to close its two remaining coal plants in the region. Additional elements of the agreement include increased commitment to solar energy, energy efficiency, consideration of local job impacts in connection with future renewable additions, and purchasing a natural gas plant, the Mankato Energy Center.
“Clean energy and economic vitality are critically important to our communities and we appreciate the leadership and collaboration from this coaltion of groups in reaching this agreement,” said Clark. “We look forward to continued partnership as this agreement is reviewed by the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission.”