Xcel Energy officials say the utility is on track to cut carbon emissions 80 percent by the year 2030 – and completely eliminate them by the year 2050.
They briefed the North Dakota Public Service Commission about those plans.
Xcel will be phasing out of its coal generation, while it increases wind and solar power. But the plan includes keeping its two nuclear power plants – Monticello and Prairie Island – operational.
"For us, keeping the nuclear fleet is important," Xcel Minnesota and Dakotas president Chris Clark told the PSC. "We have had some push toward closing those plants. But for us, this is very much a 'coal before nuclear' intentional strategy."
Clark said the utility is on track to meet its 203 goal -- but the 2050 goal will be harder to reach.
"That's an aspirational goal," Clark said. "We did that to create a culture change in the company. We know it's going to take innovation and technology development to get that last 20 percent. But with today's technology, it's not cost-effective, and we really don't know how to do it."
Clark told the PSC the plan keeps power affordable, and reliable.