Media: MN rejects Xcel's 720 MW Mankato gas plant purchase (Utility Dive)

Oct 1, 2019

From Utilty Dive:

As utilities transition to a less carbon intensive grid, many see natural gas investments as a logical transition from increasingly expensive coal-fired power. But some stakeholders are now worried that a coal-to-gas transition could leave utilities and investors with stranded assets as renewables and storage prices drop to record lows, likely undercutting natural gas in the next few decades...

...Xcel is aiming to produce 100% of its power from carbon-free emissions by 2050, and clean energy advocates are concerned that without including this plant's capacity in its rates, the PUC won't have the power to monitor and regulate greenhouse gas emissions from MEC as the utility moves forward with its transition.

Once the PPAs expire, Xcel Minnesota "could sell to anyone," which would mean the emissions from that plant would no longer be accountable to Xcel's plan, Mike Bull, director of policy and external affairs at the Minnesota Center for Energy and Environment (CEE), told Utility Dive. However, while CEE and other clean energy groups "strongly supported" placing the plant under Xcel's rate case, they are "fine" with the utility purchasing the plant through an affiliate company.

"We, the collective public interest, need to make sure that [Xcel is] successful in this rapid transition to carbon free resources and [MEC] is important to their plans ... And so we want to be supportive of that," said Bull...

Read the full article on Utility Dive