Fresh Energy Statement: Solar to replace coal in Becker, Minn.

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On September 15, 2022, the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission approved Xcel Energy’s proposal for the Sherco Solar Project, giving the green light on the largest solar project in the upper Midwest. Work will begin soon on this 460-megawatt plant near Becker, Minnesota, with a planned date to come online as soon as 2024 and reduce emissions by nearly 300,000 tons annually.

The project will create approximately 900 union construction jobs and provide multiple opportunities for workforce development, including an equity-focused workforce pilot to bring diverse workers into the clean energy field and opportunities for power plant workers in the Becker community to gain experience building solar.

Solar will be replacing coal at the Sherco site, marking another major milestone in Minnesota’s transition to carbon-free electricity,” said Allen Gleckner, executive lead, policy and programs at Fresh Energy. “Fresh Energy applauds Xcel Energy for this project which will be the example for more solar installations replacing retiring coal plants throughout the Midwest.”

As Minnesota strives to meet its climate goals, advancing clean energy projects like Sherco Solar will have a significant impact. Fresh Energy is grateful for the role that Minnesota’s leaders, including Governor Tim Walz and the Minnesota Department of Commerce, played in helping make this project a reality.