Skip to main content

Xcel says Trump presidency won't stop plans for cleaner power in MN

Xcel Energy has pledged its plans to reduce carbon emissions in Minnesota will continue, no matter who is president.
  • Author:
  • Updated:
    Original:

Amid concerns that Donald Trump's election as president could spell trouble for the fight against climate change, Xcel Energy has pledged its plans to reduce carbon emissions in Minnesota will continue.

Potentially in his crosshairs following his shock election win is President Obama's Clean Power Plan, which was enacted last year and demands that over the next 15 years, the nation's utility providers reduce the emissions of carbon dioxide from coal-fired and other fossil fuel power stations by 32 percent, compared to 2005 levels.

Xcel Energy is planning sweeping changes to its energy generation in Minnesota, putting forward a proposal last year to close down two units of its coal-fired Sherco facility in Becker, before building a smaller natural gas plant and making a huge investment into wind and solar power across the state.

In a statement to GoMN on Thursday, Xcel Energy Vice President of Policy and Federal Affairs Frank Prager said a change in administration would not affect the plans it has already laid out.

"Regardless of the outcome of the election, Xcel Energy will continue pursuing energy and environmental strategies that appeal to policymakers across the political spectrum, because we are focused on renewable and other infrastructure projects that will reduce carbon dioxide emissions without increasing prices or sacrificing reliability," he said.

"We look forward to working with the new administration, policymakers at all levels of government and other stakeholders to develop and implement energy policies that benefit our customers, our business and our communities."

Renewable energy as a cost saver

Xcel's proposal, which will see it generate 40 percent of its energy from renewable sources by 2030, is as much about economics as it is the environment.

The cost of renewable energy has been decreasing as the technology improves, with Bloomberg reporting that by the time Xcel has closed its Sherco plants in the mid-2020s, renewable could be on a par with or even cheaper than fossil fuels.

Xcel has said there will be an increase in bills in the short-term to cover its investment in renewable infrastructure, but in the long-term it should make bills cheaper than if it stays on the current track.

Environmental concerns about a Trump presidency

More attention is now being paid to Trump's previous Twitter assertion that man-made climate change is a Chinese hoax and his intimation during his campaign that he would withdraw the U.S. from the Paris Agreement, which has seen 200 countries commit to carbon reductions to limit rising global temperatures.

In his energy policy, Trump speaks of an "energy revolution" that will "bring vast new wealth to our country," and no form of energy – whether renewable or fossil fuels – is off the table.

He's in favor of power that reduces both emissions and the price of energy. But he also wants to lift restrictions on the production of shale, oil and gas, as well as tap into America's reserves of coal – one of the dirtiest ways of generating electricity – albeit in its less-polluting (but more expensive) "clean coal" form.

In his first 100 days, he also plans to push ahead with the disputed Keystone XXL oil pipeline and cancel "billions in payments" to U.N. climate change programs to invest in America's "water and environmental infrastructure."

If temperatures do rise 3.6F, scientists say we could be locked into an "an irreversible future of extreme and dangerous warming," the New York Times reports, and as the world's second-biggest polluter (behind China), the U.S.'s involvement in the fight to reduce emissions is paramount.

"If Trump steps back from that [the Paris Agreement], it makes it much less likely that the world will ever meet that target [to limit temperature rises], and essentially ensures we will head into the danger zone," Princeton professor Michael Oppenheimer, a member of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, told the newspaper.

NPR reports it wouldn't be hard for Trump to dump the Paris deal, given the pledges made are voluntary only.

Next Up

Screen Shot 2023-01-27 at 7.45.44 PM

Protest for Tyre Nichols to be held outside MN Governor’s Mansion

Activists groups say they’ll call on Gov. Tim Walz and the Legislature to implement police reforms.

Pool

Minnesota pool contractor banned from industry, must pay $2 million-plus

Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison filed suit against Charles Workman and his company, MN Crete Pools, LLC, in August.

Minneapolis police

St. Paul man identified as victim of north Minneapolis homicide

The shooting occurred on the 2200 block of Emerson Avenue North on Wednesday.

ambulance

Two youths seriously injured after being struck by driver in Bloomington

Police say the boy is in a critical condition, while the girl has severe injuries.

Rosedale Center

Two men sentenced for carjacking in Rosedale Center parking lot

Leon Kismit Bell, 49, and Jack Mitchell Piche, 23, were sentenced in U.S. District Court on Jan. 20.

Screen Shot 2023-01-27 at 3.59.30 PM

Police identify White Bear Lake officer shot while serving warrant

The officer is a six-year veteran of the department.

abortion, planned parenthood

Minnesota Senate passes bill codifying abortion into state law

Having already passed in the House, it will now be sent to Gov. Tim Walz for signing into law.

Screen Shot 2023-01-27 at 7.45.44 PM

Tyre Nichols: Initial police version of events bear similarities to George Floyd killing

Memphis PD said Nichols complained of 'shortness of breath' following 'confrontations' with police, who in reality violently beat him.

George Floyd, protest

Twin Cities authorities preparing for community reaction to Tyre Nichols video

The ATF division in St. Paul sent out an alert out of "an abundance of caution."

Related

Here's what Xcel Energy's plan for MN power plants means for you

Minnesota energy regulators are set to rule on Xcel Energy's plan to cut carbon emissions and boost renewable energy. Here's what it means.

President Trump confirms the U.S. will quit Paris climate agreement, for now

America will become just the third country not signed up to the agreement.

A Minnesota college says it's getting all its power from the wind and sun

St. Olaf has a new wind power deal with Xcel Energy and says its electricity will be carbon free

As climate changes, Minnesotans are more at risk from Lyme disease, flooding

Minnesota is not making enough progress reducing greenhouse gas emissions, a report says.

Xcel reveals $2.5BN plan for 7 wind farms in Midwest – 4 of them in Minnesota

The utility wants 63 percent of its energy to come from carbon-free sources by 2030.

Another step away from coal: MN Power plans a big new natural gas plant

They also have deals to buy more wind and solar energy.

Klobuchar reveals campaign plan; Trump makes climate change jibe

Sen. Klobuchar plans to start campaigning in Wisconsin, not Iowa.

President Trump intends to withdraw U.S. from Paris Climate Agreement, reports say

Only two countries in the world are not signed up to the agreement, America could be the third.