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Xcel Energy lands permission to power proposed Google data center in Becker

The energy would come from renewable sources.

The $600 million new data center Google is considering building in Becker, Minnesota, is nearing reality.

The Minnesota Public Utilities Commission on Tuesday  approved key plans Xcel Energy had submitted, allowing the company to provide the massive amount of power needed for the processing center.

The city in a Facebook post called it "a step forward in attracting Google to Becker!"

The center would be built on 315 acres of land adjacent to Xcel's Sherco power plant, with the tech giant outlining plans for at least $600 million in capital investment.

The pitch Xcel made to the commission Tuesday included a few arguments.

For one, the addition of Google as a customer would benefit others statewide, the petition argues, as it would allow Xcel to meet its own revenue requirements without raising rates on regular customers

It will also help Xcel continue on its path toward closing the coal-powered plants at the Sherco site. Google wants carbon-free capacity resources for the center, so Xcel plans to initially add it via wind power, with potentially other renewables down the line.

And there are jobs to be had, the petition says. Minnesota's Department of Employment and Economic Development conducted a study and estimated nearly 2,000 jobs in Sherburne County, 1,300 additional statewide jobs, and 50 new permanent jobs could be created.

Xcel has been working with local stakeholders for about two years trying to attract Google to the state. The data center would store thousands of servers that allow the search engine giant to provide its internet services, with the servers storing and processing large amounts of data.

It would be operated by Google affiliate Honeycrisp Power.

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