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Xcel Energy Moving Forward with Their Renewable Plans.

  • By Admin
  • July 17, 2023
  • 162 Views

Xcel Energy’s renewable plans are to increase solar and wind as they retire one
third of their coal generation. They recently broke ground on the 460 MW Sherco
Solar Project near Becker, Minnesota.

Sherco Solar will be built on two coal-fired power plant sites near the
Sherco plant, allowing Xcel Energy to reuse the facility’s existing grid
connections and provide customers with power in the most efficient and
cost-effective way. The project’s first phase, located in Clear Lake Township,
will be completed in 2024, while the second phase, located in Becker Township,
is planned for completion in late 2025. 

Once fully operational Sherco Solar is expected to provide the lowest-cost
solar in the Upper Midwest and become the Upper Midwest’s largest solar farm,
providing enough clean energy to power 100,000 homes.

The project will create 300 well-paying union construction jobs. An emphasis
will be put on hiring women and people of color through Xcel Energy’s Power Up
workforce and development program, designed to offer opportunities to people
who are underrepresented in the utility industry and building trades. The
project will also contribute an estimated $240 million in local economic benefits
to the Becker community as the Sherco coal-fired power plants are retired in
stages by 2030.

“Sherco Solar is an important milestone on Xcel Energy’s path to nearly
triple the amount of solar on our Upper Midwest system by 2028,” says Bob
Frenzel, chairman, president, and CEO of Xcel Energy. “This is one of the
biggest solar projects in the country, and it demonstrates how we’re leading
the clean energy transition reliably and affordably for our customers.” 

Sherco Solar represents an investment of about $690 million in clean energy
infrastructure, and it will qualify for federal tax credits, making its
construction more affordable and reduce the rate impacts to customers by
upwards of 30%. The project will be built on two sites near the Sherco plant,
allowing Xcel Energy to reuse the facility’s existing grid connections and
provide customers with power in the most efficient and cost-effective way.

Xcel Energy is committed to a smooth transition for its employees at the
Sherco plant, who have played a vital role in powering the region for decades.
They have transitioned their coal-fired plants in Minnesota without employee
layoffs, and they expect to do the same at the Sherco facility.

In addition, Xcel Energy has partnered with Form Energy, a Massachusetts
company, to install iron-air battery energy storage systems at these two sites.
This type of battery energy storage system, iron air battery, can store energy
for 100 hours, longer than a typical lithium-ion battery system. Both batter
energy storage systems and the solar project are expected to be online in late
2025.

Photo Credit: Excel Energy