Xcel Energy Gets Bill for Gas Plant Approval from Minnesota House Committee

By Editors of Power Engineering

Xcel Energy’s plans for 786-MW gas-fired power plant could be solidified by a bill approved by the Minnesota House committee on energy through a 16-3 vote.

The normal route for approval is through the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission, the Star Tribune reported. Though the PUC was considering the plant for approval, the organization put plans for the gas plant on hold in October and asked Xcel to further study alternatives using renewable energy.

The plant would replace two 680-MW coal-fired generators planned to close in 2023 and 2026, and would be built on the same site.

Rick Evans, Xcel’s director of regional government affairs, told the house committee said that Xcel needed certainty on the project, though he added that the PUC would still review all expenses for the plant.

The PUC determined there is a need for 750 MW of new power generation to replace generation from the coal plants, though also said Xcel had adequate time to evaluate all options without jeopardizing the feasibility of the proposed gas plant. The PUC had also requested a more precise long-term energy demand forecast from Xcel.

The bill still needs approval from the full Minnesota House of Representatives.

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