US Xcel seeks continued operation of its NPPs

28 May 2019

US utility Xcel Energy on 20 May announced plans for its last two remaining coal-fired power plants in Upper Midwest region of the USA to retire 10 years earlier than planned while operation of its single-unit Monticello NPP will be extended by at least a decade. Xcel Energy plans to reduce carbon emissions by 80% by 2030, compared with 2005 levels, and to deliver 100% carbon-free electricity to its customers by 2050. Its Allen S King coal plant will close in 2028, and the Sherco 3 plant in 2030. An additional 1850 MWe of wind capacity will be added by 2022 and more than 3000 MWe of solar capacity by 2030. By 2030, more than 50% of its customers' energy in the region is expected to come from renewables. Its two NPPs in Minnesota - Monticello and Prairie Island - account for 13% of Xcel's total electricity generation. Monticello's single 671 MWe boiling water reactor is currently licensed to operate until 2030, while Prairie Island's two 550 MWe pressurised water reactors are licenced to operate until 2033 and 2034, respectively. Xcel said the NPPs are a "key element" in meeting its 2030 target, adding that policies at the state and federal levels are needed that "allow us to continue the cost-effective operation of these important assets at least through the end of their current operating licences". Xcel believes advanced reactors or small modular reactors will play a role in meeting its ultimate goal of providing zero-carbon electricity by 2050. Xcel will "work closely with the Monticello community as it seeks to continue the use of the Monticello nuclear plant until at least 2040", Xcel said noting that this will need approvals at both state and federal levels.



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