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Mississippi River near the St. Cloud Water Treatment Plant.

St. Cloud shuts down hydroelectric dam for the first time since 1988

It's the first time the facility has closed due to low river flow since 1988.

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Xcel Energy to close its two remaining coal plants earlier than planned

The two Minnesota plants will close in 2028 and 2030, respectively.

AAA projects slight increase in Thanksgiving travel

AAA said in its annual forecast for Thanksgiving travel Tuesday that traffic will be up slightly over a year ago. The company predicted that an estimated 43.6 million Americans will travel at least 50 miles from home, up from 42.9 million in 2011.

State orders Xcel to study alternatives to coal-fired plants near Becker

The Public Utilities Commission ordered Xcel Energy to study the cost of new pollution control equipment at two of its coal-burning units in Sherburne County and compare that with the cost of replacing them with a cleaner alternative. Environmental groups consider the order a victory, but Xcel says it was planning something similar. The study is due next summer.

A record hot summer and electricity use was ... down?

It's true. Xcel Energy reports power use during the scorching summer of 2012 was about one percent less than the year before. The utility says conservation efforts - including more efficient appliances and light bulbs - are making a difference.