After getting 11,400 comments from the public, state regulators directed Xcel to examine shutting down 1970s-era coal burners.
Minnesota utility regulators ordered Xcel Energy Inc. on Thursday to analyze the consequences of retiring two of its largest coal-burning power generators in 2020 or later.
The order by the Public Utilities Commission fell short of what 11 climate-change activists — including polar explorer Will Steger — requested, but it sent the state’s largest utility a message that the end could be looming for the 1970s-era Sherco units 1 and 2 in Becker, Minn.
“Minnesotans sent a record 11,400 public comments to the PUC calling for a timeline to replace these dirty plants,” said Steger, referring to a write-in campaign organized by climate activists.
More than 50 activists showed up at Thursday’s meeting in St. Paul, including people from the Sierra Club’s Beyond Coal campaign and Minnesota Interfaith Power & Light, a faith community group that sees global warming as a moral issue.