Xcel Energy is issuing one of Minnesota’s largest-ever calls for clean energy projects, accelerating the addition of carbon-free energy for the company’s Upper Midwest customers while helping to replace a coal-fired power plant in central Minnesota.
The company is asking developers to submit proposals for approximately 1.2 GW of new wind projects, enough to power 485,000 homes each year on average. The projects will help meet Xcel Energy customers’ energy needs as the company fully retires its remaining coal units, which is expected by the end of 2030.
“Xcel Energy is a national leader in wind energy, which has saved our Upper Midwest customers $1.6 billion since 2017,” said 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 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 on track to reduce carbon emissions by 85% from customers’ electricity in the Upper Midwest by 2030.
Linking wind energy to the grid
Xcel Energy’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 to 180 miles from Lyon County to Becker, reusing Sherco’s existing grid connections.
Xcel broke ground on the Upper Midwest’s largest solar project near the Sherco 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.
Xcel Energy’s request allows a range of project sizes and types, including the potential to add energy storage or solar assets at selected wind projects. Click here for more information about the request for proposals.
News item from Xcel Energy
Filed Under: News, Projects