The Superbowl of Energy in Minnesota

 

Comment on Xcel's 15-Year Energy Resource Plan - New Comment Deadline June 25th!

Xcel has a 15-year plan for Minnesota, and it's coming before the state regulators this year. The regulators (Minnesota Public Utilities Commission - the same 5 people who approved the Line 3 pipeline) themselves have called this the "Superbowl" of Energy in Minnesota, and pledged to make up for what emissions were made on Line 3 by being leaders on these 15-year electricity plans.

*** Click here to see a video of the June 15th people's hearing where community members spoke out against Xcel's Plans to Build a billion dollar new gas plant and click here to see a video of the June 8th presentation of the Alternative Plans to Xcel's that we are asking the MN Public Utilities Commission to approve. ***

On this page:

- What's in Xcel's Plan?

- Our position on Xcel's plan

- How to comment by June 25th including "The People's Hearing" and video testimony

- Memes!

So what's Xcel proposing? There's a lot to be very, very worried about and not a lot to love if you have climate, affordability, equity, and resilience as a measure of priority. Xcel plans to:

  • MORE FRACKED GAS: a new fracked gas plant and ~1700 megawatts more of likely fracked gas
  • COAL THROUGH 2030: keep burning coal through 2030, losing money every day the coal plants stay open
  • NUCLEAR BEYOND 2030: extend the life of one of if not both nuclear plants, adding to radioactive waste
  • SUPRESSION OF COMMUNITY SOLAR: cut individual and community-owned solar while expanding Xcel-owned solar
  • LITTLE TO NO ENERGY STORAGE: xcel's plan sees renewables and energy storage (like batteries) as an "either/or" not a "both/and," which ignores the basic resiliency and reliability -  the two amplify and strengthen each other!
  • MORE TRASH BURNING keep burning trash as "renewable energy"

What would we like to see instead? Here's a shortlist of our talking points about what we'd like to see instead:

1: Reject Xcel's plan to build a new $1 billion-dollar fracked gas plant and new pipeline

Xcel is proposing to build a ~$1 billion fracked gas plant and pipeline infrastructure in Becker, MN by 2027. In fact, it circumvented regulation by slipping a law through the legislature to allow them to do so when the PUC was skeptical. Xcel has stated commitment to carbon reduction goals. But because of expected methane releases, a new fossil gas plant would have roughly the same net greenhouse gas impact as the coal it would replace. To see more great info this, visit the Energy We Can't Afford website. In addition, Xcel customers would be forced to pay for the plant even if retired after only a few years. 

2: Prioritize of distributed renewable energy, energy storage, and demand side management instead of Xcel's costly gas-plant and monopoly of renewables.

Xcel's faulty projections preference company-owned renewables and short-change community-owned renewables, and in so doing force their gas plant through as necessary. Xcel not-so-subtlely cites "market conditions" for the decrease in community-scale projects (though the "market" is a monopoly in which they pull the strings....)  and has chosen NOT to study any options that would undermine their claim that a new gas plant is necessary, violating a PUC order and State Statute.  The alternatives that would a gas plant obsolete and save $1 billion per year? Widespread, community-scale renewables! 

3: Shutdown all coal plants by 2025

Xcel waits until 2030, 2026, and 2023 to shut down the last of three coal plants, despite losing money every day they are open. See the link in point #2 above to learn about the plan that shows we can shut down coal by 2025 at the latest saving a billions dollars over multiple years by replacing that energy supply with small-scale, distributed renewables and energy storage.

4: Set out the course to shut down both nuclear plants, and remove radioactive waste from Prairie Island Indian Community

Only ~8% of uranium mined to use in making nuclear energy comes from inside the US. Both in the US and globally, indigenous communities bear the disproportionate burden of that mining - from the Cree nation in current-day Canada; to the Havasupai and Dine nations in current-day southwestern US and the Oceti Sakowin nations near the Black Hills of the US; to the multiple Aboriginal tribes in current-day Australia. Once its brought to Minnesota and used up in the making of electricity at the two nuclear plants - in Monticello and Red Wing, Minnesota - the radioactive waste is brought to be stored 600 yards from one of the smallest Dakota reservations in Minnesota, Prairie Island Indian Community. This has been un-consensual since the arrangement was proposed in the 1970s. Read below about how we can save money, dramatically decrease emissions and avoid any more nuclear:

5: End all trash burner Power-Purchase-Agreements 

Xcel currently buys energy from at least 2 trash burners - one in North Minneapolis and one in Red Wing - that provide smaller amounts of energy and are strongly opposed my many in the community. Xcel and other industry partners euphemistically lump trash burning in with renewables calling it "waste to energy" or "biomass." If you visit the Minneapolis-St. Paul airport, look for ad-campaign on the trash cans in the C-wing of the airport. Makes trash look like solution!

 

6: Alternative Plans - 

Sierra Club, Fresh Energy, the Citizens Utility Board, and the Institute for Local Self Reliance have all developed 15-year energy plans that are cleaner, more affordable and more localized than Xcel's. Each organization used the same software that Xcel used to create their plan. But all concluded that there is no need to build this new gas plant (which Xcel has claimed for 5 years is necessary for reliability). But Xcel refuses to study any alternative scenario to building a new billion dollar fossil gas plant + pipeline. These alternative plans listed in the chart below show that we could meet our energy needs by building much more distributed renewables, community solar and energy storage instead. 

 

 

FIVE WAYS TO COMMENT by June 25th 4:30pm

Note: you cannot submit anonymous comments, please don't submit anything you do not wish to be publicly available

 

Additional Ways to Comment:

  1. THROUGH AN ORGANIZATION: For a quick and easy option, the Energy We Can’t Afford Coalition has a provided a sample letter with space to type in your personal comments. The organization will be submit what you type as comments on Xcel’s 15 year plan.
  2. VIDEO COMMENT   You could submit a pre-recorded Video Comment through https://flipgrid.com/5fb94252  or create video and send a Youtube link or wav file by email to [email protected]
  3. ONLINE DIRECTLY to the MN Public Utility Commission Submit a comment at this link and then reference docket number 19-368.
  4. MAIL  Write a letter. Make sure to include your name and Docket Number 19-368 and mail it to: Minnesota Public Utilities Commission, 121 7th Place East, Suite #350, Saint Paul, Minnesota, 55101

Just in case: if you run into difficulty submitting comments, contact Anne Thom (Supervisor | Consumer Affairs Office) at 651-355-0000

Some tips for writing a great comment:
  • Pick 1-3 talking points and focus on it.
  • The comment doesn’t have to be long.
  • Let it be personal. Do you have a story?
Here are three sample comment for inspiration:
  • A summarized version of messaging points developed by dedicated volunteers which lay out why it is important to comment 
  • I am an Xcel customer from _______ MN. I am writing to voice my concern and say that the Public Utility Commission should not allow Xcel to build a new fossil gas plant in Becker MN. It will only accelerate the global climate crisis that affects our planet. Allowing for an increase in extracting, transporting and burning fossil fuels is the exact opposite of what the government should be doing to help our planet and our drinking water. The market for fossil gas is rapidly disappearing and the proposed new gas plant will not be able to pay for itself and that cost will shift onto the consumer. I’m a college student/retiree/single parent/unemployed and my finances can be tight at times. I don’t want to see increases in my bills to pay for an unnecessary fracked gas plant.
  • Here is an article by Tim Wulling in the Park Bugle on tell the Public Utilities Commission that we want 100% clean, renewable energy. https://www.parkbugle.org/do-you-want-fossil-free-electricity/
  • Similar points were echoed in January's Longfellow Nokomis Messenger https://www.longfellownokomismessenger.com/stories/energy-we-cant-afford,1606?

 

For a bit of fun, you can now watch the satirical interview on Xcel's 15-year plan with Mr. Monopoly-- also known as Mr. Moneybags, who plays the role of a self-appointed spokesman for investor-owned utilities. Watch and listen to what he says about Xcel's plan...!