Xcel backs off plans to upgrade coal-fired plant to natural gas-fired unit

Major Minnesota-based power company Xcel Energy (NYSE: XEL) has cancelled plans to upgrade one of its older facilities into a natural gas-fired power plant, according to the Pioneer Press. 

The Black Dog Power Plant in Burnsville, Minnesota, is a 59-year-old coal-fired plant that can produce as much as 253 megawatts of power. 

Between increasingly strict emissions standards introduced by the Environmental Protection Agency and rising electricity demand, Xcel had planned to upgrade the plant with a new natural gas turbine. The new gas-fired plant would be capable of producing as much as 700 megawatts of power, with fewer harmful emissions. 

However, recent reevaluations of electricity demand forced Xcel to reconsider its plans, delaying the project until at least 2014. Lower electricity demand projections could even derail plans to upgrade a nearby nuclear power plant. 

Despite these changes, the Minneapolis Star Tribune reports that Xcel still plans to implement more than $438-million-worth of environmental upgrades to its current generation capacity. Already, the company has upgraded to gas-fired generation at two older coal plants in Minneapolis and St. Paul at the cost of $1 billion. 

For the most up to date and in-depth information on the Coal and Gas Generation markets visit PennEnergy's comprehensive Research area to access industry focused Reports.


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