Fresh Energy applauds Southern Minnesota Municipal Power Agency’s plans to be 80% carbon-free in 2030

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Photo by Mulad via Wikimedia Commons

Southern Minnesota Municipal Power Agency (SMMPA) announced on February 5, 2020, its plan to reshape its generation portfolio through the retirement of the Sherco 3 coal-fired power plant in 2030 and replace it primarily with wind and solar generation. The plan will result in 80% carbon-free energy on an annual basis in 2030.

“Fresh Energy applauds SMMPA’s commitment to transition away from the Sherco 3 coal-fired power plant and add wind and solar generation,” said J. Drake Hamilton, science policy director of Fresh Energy. “SMMPA is moving in the right direction with this announcement and they’re on track to help the state meet the 2007 bipartisan Next Generation Energy Act goal of reducing economy-wide greenhouse gas emissions by at least 80% by 2050. We look forward to working with SMMPA toward an 100% carbon-free electric supply.

SMMPA currently owns 41% of the 900-megawatt Sherco 3 coal-fired generation unit located in Becker, Minnesota. Sherco 3’s majority owner, Xcel Energy, announced plans in 2019 to retire the plant in 2030. SMMPA provides electricity to 18 municipally operated utilities, mostly in south-central and southeastern Minnesota, but also as far north as Grand Marais, Minnesota.

SMMPA expects its portfolio will be 75% renewable in 2030, with 180 MW solar and 180 MW wind, and will be 80% carbon-free in 2030.  View a PDF of SMMPA’s official announcement here.