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Minnesota Slowly Turns Away from Coal-Fired Energy

Minnesota utility company Xcel Energy plans to close four coal plants by 2030 and fully switch to renewable energy sources by 2050.
July 30, 2020, 10am PDT | Lee Flannery
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One of Minnesota's largest utility companies, Xcel Energy plans to shutter four remaining coal-burning plants by 2030, reports Gregg Aamot. A handful of other plants across the state have similar plans to shut down coal-burning operations before Xcel Energy's self-imposed deadline. Shutting down the plants will go a long way in reducing carbon emissions in Minnesota: "Three-fourths of the greenhouse gases emitted by electric companies in Minnesota comes from Xcel Energy and Minnesota Power plants, according to MPCA statistics. The percentage is even higher for coal-produced emissions," writes Aamot.

But while Xcel Energy's Sherco plant contributes to greenhouse gas emissions, it also accounts for 75% of the city of Becker's tax base, a growing community with 5,000 residents. According to Audrey Partridge of Center for Energy and Environment, a trend will emerge in towns where coal-burning energy plants once heavily contributed to local taxes: residents will have to pick up the slack. Since 2005, Minnesota utilities have reduced their reliance on coal from 95% to only 50% by way of investing in renewable resources. "Xcel Energy, meanwhile, hopes to generate 80 percent of its power from renewable energy sources, such as wind and solar, by 2030 and to generate all of its energy from renewable sources by mid-century," reports Aamot.

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Published on Monday, July 27, 2020 in MinnPost
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