Xcel Energy announced this afternoon its intent to cease coal-fired generation at Sherco Units 1 and 2 in 2026 and 2023, respectively, while adding 1,200 MW of new renewable sources (800 MW of wind and 400 MW of solar) by 2020.  According to the Xcel Energy website, Sherco Unit 1 has a generating capacity of 680 MW and Sherco Unit 2 has a generating capacity of 682 MW.  A summary of Xcel Energy’s filing, pulled directly from the filing, appears below.  The full filing can be found here.

“Our proposal has four primary elements:

1.    Accelerate the transition from coal energy to renewables. Our proposal includes:

  • Achieving 60 percent carbon emission reductions by 2030,
  • Ceasing coal generation at Sherco Unit 2 in 2023,
  • Ceasing coal generation at Sherco Unit 1 in 2026, and
  • Advancing the addition of substantial renewable generation (1,200 MW by 2020).

2.    Preserve regional system reliability. We propose to continue operation of our nuclear units during the current resource planning period and construct sufficient gas fired generation and infrastructure to maintain reliability with an appreciation of regional, state, and local community economic and policy considerations. To that end, we envision:

  • Reaffirming our commitment to nuclear energy through the current licenses of our existing units,
  • Adding a combustion turbine in North Dakota by 2025,
  • Studying a Sherco Unit 2 boiler conversion or combustion turbine alternative,
  • Studying gas infrastructure and transmission expansion, and
  • Replacing Sherco generation with a combined cycle no later than 2026.

3.    Pursue energy efficiency gains and grid modernization. We propose to continue our commitment to energy efficiency and new technologies, and we look to capitalize on these efforts rather than seeking to replace coal capacity megawatt for megawatt. We believe that modernizing the grid will further enable customer-driven solutions.

4.    Ensure customer benefits. We propose to work with the Commission, the MPCA, and our stakeholders to ensure our customers get the full benefit of our proposal by:

  • Working with the MPCA, along with its counterpart environmental agencies in our other states, on the CPP State Plans to maximize the benefits of compliance for our customers and communities, and
  • Pursuing rate plans and cost recovery mechanisms that smooth costs for our customers.”