Xcel Energy is proposing up to three natural gas-fired “peaking plants” to meet its customers’ power needs in the future.
One is a 215 megawatt turbine to be built at its existing Black Dog coal-fired plant near Burnesville, Minnesota. That could go on-line in 2017. The coal-fired generation there is scheduled to be retired in 2015. Xcel says two more 215-megwatt turbines would be built near Hankinson, North Dakota – and they could be on line by 2019.
"It will mean a lot for reliability, we believe," said North Dakota Public Service Commissioner Julie Fedorchak. "It will be Xcel's first North Dakota generation site, and it's important to have these generation sites close to the population centers they're serving."
"Xcel has said it's going to be deficient 150 megawatts in the next few years, with a total of 500 megawatts by 2019," said PSC Chairman Brian Kalk. "So that's what's what's driving the need for those three plants."
Kalk says reliability has been an issue for its North Dakota customers.
"When we lost service, there was no back-up,m" said Kalk. "There's no North Dakota generation for Xcel. If they get these plants built, there will be a source for back-up power."
Kalk also says Xcel is looking at about 200 megawatts of wind generation in North Dakota.
Hearings on an "advanced determination of prudence" for the project will happen later this year.