Clean-energy supporters are demanding that the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission order Xcel Energy to better plan how it will retire the two oldest and dirtiest coal-fired power plants at its Sherco Generating Station, which produces electricity for the Upper Midwest, the Pioneer Press reports. Renewable advocates packed an all-day hearing Thursday at the commission, the newspaper says. They say Xcel has failed to study how wind- and solar-generated energy might replace the Sherco units.
Minnesota’s largest utility now anticipates that it will meet modest growth in electricity demand primarily with natural gas and hydropower imported from Canada, Midwest Energy News reports. Xcel Energy, which serves about 1.4 million customers in Minnesota, has been scrambling to try to update its long-range plan. Priorities seemed to shift a bit again this week when the utility indicated it no longer thinks proposed nuclear plant upgrades are worth it.
Meanwhile, Xcel has just announced that it had a very profitable third quarter. Still, Xcel plans to ask state regulators for permission to hike rates because sales remain soft, the Star Tribune reports.