On July 1, Minnesota’s largest utility, Xcel Energy, filed its draft Integrated Resource Plan (IRP) with the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission (PUC). The Public Utilities Commission, which is ultimately responsible for approving the IRP, is accepting public comments until October 2, 2020.
The plan lays out how Xcel will invest in electricity generation over the next 15 years. Fresh Energy is pleased that the plan includes Xcel’s commitment to:
- 80% carbon reduction by 2030
- 100% carbon-free electric system by 2050
- No more coal after 2030
- Historic levels of energy efficiency
- A dramatic increase in renewable electricity, with a tripling of solar energy over the next 10 years.
However, there is room for improvement.
What we celebrate
- Vision for 100% carbon free electricity. Fresh Energy applauds Xcel Energy for this ambitious commitment, including the plan that achieves 80% carbon free by 2030.
- Coal retirements are critical to a carbon free future, and we support this part of the plan.
- Commitment to renewable energy and energy efficiency. Xcel has made excellent progress on renewables and efficiency, but we can do more, sooner.
Opportunities for improvement
- Gas plant infrastructure. Xcel energy should retire its two coal plants, Allen S. King and Sherco 3, by 2028 and 2030, respectively. They should be replaced with non-fossil alternatives—not with new fossil fuel infrastructure, like the proposed gas plant in Becker, Minnesota.
- Equity. The plan doesn’t explicitly address energy access and equity. Xcel should pursue opportunities to ensure no one is left behind in the transition to clean energy, including historically marginalized populations and promote as many local jobs as possible.
- Cost-effective path to 100%. Xcel should outline how new technologies – like energy storage and flexible electricity-use – can best enable renewables and meet future demand at a low cost.
How to submit an initial written comment (open until October 2, 2020)*:
- Online: Visit www.mn.gov/puc, select Speak Up! Find Docket No. 19-368 and add your comments to the discussion.
- Email: Email your comments to firstname.lastname@example.org. Please make sure you include the Docket Number 19-368.
- eDockets: Use the Commission’s eFiling system — go to www.mn.gov/puc, select “eFiling.”
- U.S. Mail: Minnesota Public Utilities Commission 121 7th Place East, Suite 350 St. Paul, MN 55101.
*The initial due date for reply comments was January 8, 2020, but this timeline was moved to October 2, 2020. Please note that written comments will be a part of the official public record, and any personally identifying information you provide will be published on the PUC’s website.