Xcel Energy, a company that delivers clean energy solutions from a variety of renewable sources, has proposed 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’s 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 $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,” says Ben Fowke, chairman and CEO of 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, policy makers, stakeholders and employees to move these projects forward quickly to help all Minnesotans,” he adds.
Xcel Energy proposed a slate of projects to the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission that would 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% below the national average, and the company plans to continue to keep our customers’ bills low, at or below the rate of inflation.
Project highlights include:
- Xcel Energy has proposed speeding up the addition of up to 460 MW of solar power next to the Sherco coal plant in Becker, Minn. 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.
- 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. Xcel Energy would use union labor and women, veteran and minority-owned businesses for various aspects of the projects.
- Xcel Energy proposed to expand 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. The company also proposed to spend twice as much as the state requires on assistance programs for low-income customers.
- Xcel Energy 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.
The proposed projects will need approval from the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission.
Photo: Xcel Energy’s Clean Energy web page
Original source: North American Wind Power