As it stated in Dayton signs bill allowing natural gas plant in BeckerGov.
Mark Dayton today signed a bill giving Xcel Energy the authority to build a new natural gas power plant in Becker, Minn., to replace capacity lost when part of its Sherco coal plant retires.
“The renewable component is significant, and going from coal-burning to natural gas burning is, of course, a big improvement for the environment,” Dayton said.
Critics of the legislation have questioned whether the gas plant will cost rate payers more than other, cleaner alternatives.
The gas plant will preserve about 150 jobs in Becker plus create construction jobs.
As it stated in Xcel and Becker-area lawmakers say the gas plant will cushion the blow by preserving about 150 jobs and creating construction jobs.
Mark Dayton has signed a bill allowing Xcel Energy to build a natural gas power plant in Becker to make up for some of the capacity it loses when it retires two of its three coal-fired generators at its Sherco power plant there.
Critics called the legislation an end-run around the PUC, and wanted regulators to require Xcel to look at cleaner alternatives.
The bill signed Tuesday lets Xcel skip the normal route of needing to gain approval from the Public Utilities Commission, which declined last year to commit to the natural gas plant when it approved Xcel’s plan to retire the two oldest coal units at Sherco.
ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) — Gov.
As it stated in In signing the bill on Tuesday, Feb. 28, Dayton said that the Becker conversion will save jobs in the central Minnesota community.
Xcel Minnesota President Chris Clark said that the natural gas conversion is connected to the addition of renewable fuel-generated electricity, reducing the company’s fossil fuel use.
Other jobs will be available in the renewable electricity operation, he added.
“This is a really important day for Becker, Minn. … and really for the entire state,” Dayton said.
Clark said that about 310 people work at the current coal plants, while up to 160 will work once the plant is converted to gas in a year or two.
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