CEE Statement: Natural gas legislation clears way to cut Xcel Energy emissions 60% by 2030

Feb 28, 2017

Today Governor Mark Dayton approved HF 113, legislation that allows Xcel Energy to replace a portion of capacity from retiring coal units at its Sherco plant in Becker, Minnesota, with gas-fired generation. Center for Energy and Environment applauds the important step forward.

Mike Bull, CEE's Director of Policy and Communications, explains:
"Today's action by Governor Dayton to approve HF 113, authored by Representative Jim Newberger and Senator Andrew Matthews, completes the approval of the single largest clean energy accomplishment since passage of Governor Tim Pawlenty's Next Generation Energy Act in 2007.

"The natural gas combined cycle generation facility at Becker, Minnesota, was a critical component of our negotiations with Xcel Energy that ultimately secured Xcel's commitment to voluntarily retire over 1,300 megawatts of coal generation significantly earlier than the utility had planned. Further, Xcel Energy committed to adding at least 3,200 megawatts of wind and solar to its system here in the upper Midwest, and to continuing its nationally recognized efforts to help customers save energy and money through 2030.

"Much of this package was already approved by the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission, due to outstanding work by the Minnesota Department of Commerce and our clean energy allies Wind on the Wires, Sierra Club, Fresh Energy, and the Minnesota Center for Environmental Advocacy.

"Approving this strongly bipartisan legislation to facilitate construction of the natural gas facility cleared the way for Xcel Energy to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions an amazing 60% by 2030 in a manner that is good for its customers, good for its workers, and good for the local economy in central Minnesota."

Bull concludes, "With today's action and the announcement yesterday to support increasing Minnesota's commitment to renewable energy, the Dayton/Smith Administration has enhanced Minnesota's clean energy leadership, and accelerated efforts toward a healthy, low-carbon economy that benefits all Minnesotans."

About CEE

The Center for Energy and Environment is a Minnesota nonprofit that discovers and deploys the most effective energy solutions for a healthy, low-carbon economy. For nearly 40 years, CEE has provided practical energy solutions through a range of practical and cost-effective programs to help homeowners, businesses, nonprofits, and governments cut energy waste and save money.

Related links

Mike Bull bio
CEE Statement: Xcel to accelerate Sherco retirement (Oct 2015)

Media contact 

Tim Hanrahan, communications manager 612-244-2419, thanrahan@mncee.org