Today, I would like to talk about Xcel Energy’s Upper Midwest Integrated Resource Plan 2020 2034 (IRP), Docket Number 19-368. I also want to encourage you to support the IRP by submitting comments on or before February 11, 2021 to the Public Utilities Commission.
Xcel Energy’s plan to transform the way electricity is delivered to consumers is groundbreaking, including closing coal power plants early, expanding wind and solar power generation, continuing to use carbon-free nuclear power while ensuring reliability by building a natural gas combined cycle power plant in Becker.
Using efficient natural gas will be a cornerstone of reducing carbon emissions and delivering reliable and cost-effective electricity for homes and business. The Becker natural gas plant is the path forward to 100% carbon-free electricity by 2050.
Here’s why you should support the IRP and the Becker natural gas plant:
- The natural gas plant in Becker will be a key asset to deliver affordable, efficient electricity when wind and solar production is low and when electric demand is greater than what renewable energy can provide.
- The natural gas plant in Becker will have about 80% lower carbon emissions annually than the current Sherco coal plants because of the smaller size of the plant and significantly lower emissions from gas compared to coal.
- Natural gas is the transition resource we all need as carbon-free generation and long-term power storage technology continues to develop.
- With today’s technology, natural gas and nuclear are the best ways to cost-effectively provide power when renewables aren’t available.
- The Becker natural gas plant will ensure grid stability, electric service reliability and will take advantage of the region’s existing transmission system which was built around the Sherco generating plant thereby saving rate payers the cost to build new infrastructure. Natural gas plays a crucial role in stabilizing the power grid and integrating the high levels of renewable energy coming on-line and being proposed.
- The newly transformed Sherco site will continue to be the foundation for additional economic development activities across the state and help deliver new jobs and capital investment to the area that has hosted the region’s largest power plant for decades.
- The IRP proposes a diverse energy mix which will reduce carbon emissions, protect reliability, and keep electricity costs affordable and limit dependence on a single fuel source.
- The IRP calls for continuing expansion of renewables, as a robust mix of energy sources ensures competitive and reliable electric service.
- The IRP, which includes the natural gas plant, will provide an insurance policy against events like the 2019 Polar Vortex which vividly demonstrates that renewable “droughts” are possible and can last significantly longer than the few hours of storage that current or foreseeable battery storage technologies can economically provide.
The Integrated Resource Plan will use innovation and technology to reduce carbon emissions. In addition to being a critical economic driver and delivering reliable electricity, the Becker natural gas plant will continue to support the region as a competitive business environment.
Xcel Energy continues to lead the way on clean energy! This plan to reduce carbon emissions by more than 80% by 2030 is a pathway to a world we can all live in!
Please support the Upper Midwest Integrated Resource Plan and the Becker Natural Gas Plant by clicking this link https://mn.gov/puc/consumers/speak-up/ and refer to Docket Number 19-368 to submit your comments of support.
Thank you for your ongoing support!
Becker City Administrator