One of the United States’ largest utilities, Xcel Energy Inc., announced it will close its remaining coal-fired power plants in the Upper Midwest a decade ahead of schedule and add 3,000 megawatts of new solar capacity by 2030, E&E News reported. It is the latest step in the utility’s plan to provide 100 percent carbon-free electricity by 2050.
“This is a significant step forward as we are on track to reduce carbon emissions more than 80 percent by 2030 and transform the way we deliver energy to our customers,” said Chris Clark, president of Xcel’s operations in Minnesota and the Dakotas.
The company said it will shut its 511-megawatt Allen S. King Generation Station by 2028 and its 2,238-megawatt Sherburne County plant (known as Sherco) by 2030. It also agreed to run one of the units at the Sherco facility only seasonally and close the unit permanently in 2023. Xcel said it will increase investment in energy efficiency measures, bring 1,850 megawatts of new wind capacity online in Minnesota by 2022, as well as keep its Monticello Nuclear Generating Station operating until 2040, a decade later than planned, according to E&E News.
The clean energy strategy is part of new legal settlement between the company, environmental organizations, and labor groups involving Xcel’s proposed $650 million purchase of a 760-megawatt natural gas plant.