Xcel Energy Proposes $3 Bn in Energy Investments in Minnesota

Xcel Energy Proposes $3 Bn in Energy Investments in Minnesota

Minneapolis based Utility Xcel Energy has announced its proposal for one of the largest packages of energy investments in Minnesota

Xcel Energy Minnesota

Xcel Energy, a utility holding company serving more than 3.3 million electric customers, has announced its proposal for the one of the largest packages of energy investments in Minnesota’s history, as part of its response to the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission and Department of Commerce request for energy companies to help with job growth and getting the economy on track. As part of Xcel Energy’s commitment to helping customers and the state recover from the COVID-19 pandemic, the company’s proposal would include almost USD 3 billion of accelerated and incremental projects that will create jobs, advance the transition to cleaner energy, and keep customer bills stable.

“COVID-19 put the brakes on our economy, leading to widespread unemployment and we are eager to help Minnesota with our proposal that can help provide the economic jump-start our state needs,” said Ben Fowke, chairman and CEO, Xcel Energy. “We thank Governor Tim Walz, our regulators and commissioners for the leadership on this issue and remain committed to working with them along with our, communities, policymakers, stakeholders and employees to move these projects forward quickly to help all Minnesotans.”

The firm expects the proposed projects will create an estimated 5,000 jobs in the state while keeping customer bills stable. Xcel Energy customers in Minnesota have electricity bills that are 24 percent below the national average, and the company plans to continue to keep its customers’ bills low, at or below the rate of inflation.

Project highlights include:

Adding solar near the Sherco plant. The firm has proposed speeding up the addition of up to 460 megawatts of solar power next to our Sherco coal plant in Becker, Minnesota. Building the solar installation would create 230 to 350 union jobs during construction and generate significant state and local tax benefits as well as landowner lease payments over the life of the project. The solar installation will also generate enough carbon-free energy to power more than 240,000 homes each year while leveraging existing transmission infrastructure.

Expanding and rebuilding wind farms. Rebuilding aging wind farms with the latest technology and adding additional wind power in the state would create hundreds of construction jobs in greater Minnesota – jobs that often spur additional jobs and economic benefits in those communities. The firm would use union labor and women, veteran, and minority-owned businesses for various aspects of the projects.

Expanding conservation and efficiency programs. The utility has proposed to expand its current energy conservation programs, including direct rebate payments to customers who may be struggling to pay for new equipment, leading to job growth in the trade services while lowering customer bills. It has also proposed to spend twice as much as the state requires on assistance programs for low-income customers.

The firm has also proposed other investments in transmission, distribution, natural gas and electric vehicle infrastructure projects, including building electric vehicle charging stations for fleets and the public.

“As we join the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission in its effort to aid in Minnesota’s economic recovery, we’ve proposed projects that will bring significant system benefits, accelerate the economy and advance our plans to reduce carbon emissions,” said Chris Clark, president, Xcel Energy-Minnesota. “Xcel Energy is proud to be part of the Minnesota community, and we are in a strong position to create a pipeline of jobs by moving forward with projects across the state that will accelerate economic growth while advancing our goals as we continue to lead the clean energy transition.”

The proposed projects now await approval from the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission.

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Ayush Verma

Ayush is a staff writer at saurenergy.com and writes on renewable energy with a special focus on solar and wind. Prior to this, as an engineering graduate trying to find his niche in the energy journalism segment, he worked as a correspondent for iamrenew.com.