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Xcel To Shut Down Becker Energy Plant

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – The state's largest emitter of greenhouse gases will be shutting down, a move that's part of Xcel Energy's effort to find more renewable energy alternatives.

The idea to shut down the plant in Becker, Minn. has been in the works for two years. Now, the Public Utilities Commission approved Xcel's plans to shut down two of the plant's three Sherco coal-fired generators.

Xcel had submitted its plan to the PUC to close them down as part of bigger initiative to come up with more renewable energy sources.

Two of the coal generators have been there since the 1970s; the third on the site is much newer and will stay in operation.

Xcel also proposed building a gas powered plant on the Sherco site as a partial power replacement, but that was not approved. Instead the PUC asked that Xcel explore more energy alternatives along with the gas plant.

Still, Xcel officials said they were very happy with the PUC's decision.

They said they will be working with the employees at the Sherco plants to try to find them alternative employment within the company. They said they've had experience in the past where they replaced coal generators with natural gas plants and were able to relocate those employees.

Right now, the plan is to have the first generator shut down in 2023, and the other in 2026.

They do want to replace the lost energy so Xcel said they will be using the years until that point to nail down an effective replacement energy source.

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