Sierra Club rallies for retirement of Xcel's coal generators

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One of the country's largest environmental groups is holding a statewide event to advocate for the retirement of two generators at the state's largest coal-fired plant.

The Sierra Club has been urging Xcel Energy to stop burning coal at Sherco's two oldest units, Sherco 1 and 2, and move toward cleaner options like wind or solar energy.

The plant, located in Sherburne County near Becker, powers more than 2 million homes and businesses, but environmentalists say Sherco emits too much carbon dioxide.

Minnesota Public Radio reports more than a dozen community discussions are being held across the state Tuesday in an effort to to put additional pressure on Xcel and state officials.

A Minnesota Public Utilities Commission hearing to discuss the plant's fate will be held Thursday. No concrete decision on Sherco's future is expected at the hearing, but MPR says the commission could order Xcel to include a retirement plan as part of its regulatory filings.

Sherco 3, the largest of the three coal-burning generators at the plant, just went back into service last month after it was heavily damaged two years ago.

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