In Minnesota, we want to protect what we love. That’s why last month’s Xcel Energy announcement leaves all Minnesotans breathing a little easier. Xcel’s 2015 Resource Plan was updated to transition Sherco 1 & 2 plants in Becker from coal to natural gas-fired operations. In addition, this retirement calls for 1,200 megawatts of renewable energy, including a new 50 megawatt solar installation at the site of the Sherco plants in Becker.
Currently these Sherco plants combine to make up the state’s largest coal-burning power plant. Minnesota’s coal-fired power plants produce one third of all of Minnesota’s carbon pollution.
The American Lung Association has linked increased carbon pollution to elevated rates of asthma and heart disease nationwide. And increased mercury pollution, caused by burning coal, is the driving force behind fish consumption warnings that limit how much fish we can eat from local lakes and streams.
Over the last two years, thousands of petitions have been submitted to the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission asking that Xcel Energy’s 2015 Resource Plan include a total phase out of the Sherco 1 & 2 plants, including many from Conservation Minnesota members like you. We applaud Xcel’s commitment to homegrown, cost-effective, clean energy generation.