On May 20, Xcel energy announced the retirement of the two remaining coal plants in the Upper Midwest including the Allen S. King coal plant located on the St. Croix River in Bayport, Minnesota. The plans are in effort to hasten the ‘clean energy transition’ and allow for the use of ‘green’ energy including wind, solar and natural gas.
The Allen S. King has operated on the St. Croix River since 1968 named after the former president of Northern States Power Company before becoming a part of Xcel Energy. Despite being adapted to fit the qualifications of Xcel Energy’s Metro Emissions Reduction Project, the move towards the Upper Midwest Energy Plan will result in the closure of the Sherco 3 and Allen S. King Plant nearly a decade earlier than previously intended.
“This is a significant step forward as we are on track to reduce carbon emissions more than 80% by 2030 and transform the way we deliver energy to our customers,” said Chris Clark, president, Xcel Energy – Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota. “Accelerating the closure of our coal plants and leading this clean energy transition would not be possible without the dedication and support of our key stakeholders. We thank them for their work to put us on a path to deliver 100% carbon-free electricity by 2050.”
Xcel Energy has announced an increased focus on both customers and employees during the transition period expecting to, “manage the transition through attrition, retirements and retraining for employees who take other jobs within the company” according to a press release from the company.
Concerns raised in the communities that rely on Xcel Energy have also been raised about how the Upper Midwest Energy Plan will impact cost. The company assures that their plans to meet carbon-reduction goals will keep customer bills at or below inflation rates and that these new practices will quickly implement carbon reductions at the lowest cost to the customers.
“Our employees are the reason we are able to deliver reliable service to our customers,” said Clark. “Over the next decade, we will work closely with them and our plant host communities to ensure a successful transition. We have been on our clean energy journey for more than a decade and have a track record of making the transition with a strong focus on our employees and communities.”