MN Public Utilities Commission approves Xcel’s record solar project in Sherburne County

The biggest solar power facility in the state was authorized by the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission on Thursday.

According to a press release from the PUC, Xcel Energy’s proposed Sherco Solar Project, which is anticipated to produce 460 megawatts of electricity, will be situated on two distinct parcels in Becker and Clear Lake townships, close to the company’s coal-powered Sherburne County Generating Facility in Becker.

By 2030, Xcel intends to shut down all of its coal-fired power facilities in Minnesota, including the sizable Sherco unit. A portion of the capacity lost as a result of these closures will be made up for by the new solar project, which is anticipated to be completely operational by 2025.

The firm is “pleased to continue ahead with the Sherco Solar Project,” said Chris Clark, president of Xcel for Minnesota, North Dakota, and South Dakota, to KSTP-TV.

As we move away from coal and get closer to our goal of providing 100% carbon-free power by 2050, Clark said, “we know it will be a crucial component to satisfy our customers’ energy demands.”

According to the PUC, the project would cut carbon emissions by 300,000 tons yearly and provide 900 construction jobs, earning an estimated $115 million in salaries over the next three years.

The PUC recently accepted the Sherco project as the second significant renewable energy plan.

The hybrid Big Bend Wind and Red Rock Solar facility in southwest Minnesota, which is anticipated to produce up to 360 megawatts of electricity, received commission approval last month.

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