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Xcel Energy on its way to a 'carbon-free' future

Xcel Energy has a goal of being 100 percent carbon free by the year 2050.

That goal was set in 2018.

"Xcel Energy will be 81 percent carbon-free by 2030," said Xcel North Dakota principal manger Tony Grindberg.

Grindberg said to meet that goal, Xcel has been shuttering its coal-fired power plants.

"Our power mix is comprised of natural gas, nuclear fleet, located in Minnesota, increased investment in wind, increased investment in solar, and other renewables, which is a small sliver of our generation mix," Grindberg said.

Xcel is planning to build two new natural gas "peaking" plants — one in Minnesota, and the other in eastern North Dakota.

"When the wind isn't blowing, we can go to a dispatchable source like natural gas, to generate power," Grindberg said. "Those plants will also be designed so that, sometime in the future, they can be converted to hydrogen."

Grindberg said Xcel also pushed for a Legislative interim study of the possibility of nuclear power generation in North Dakota.

"The future of nuclear is 'advanced nuclear,' which involve smaller reactors — 75 megawatts — that can be stackable and mobile," Grindberg said. "We advanced the study so the Legislature would understand what that means."

Grindberg said he expects Xcel will be working with the interim Energy Development and Transmission Committee to do that study.

"We want to share our competency in nuclear, and show what it will look like in the future," Grindberg said.

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