Via the St. Cloud Times
Rep. Jim Newberger, District 15B 12:02 p.m. CDT October 12, 2015
The Sept. 26 letter “No coal does not mean closing Sherco” suggests transitioning the Xcel Energy Sherco power plant in Becker toward clean energy, such as wind power, instead of shutting it down. It fails to mention Xcel is the nation’s leading producer of wind energy, and wind power alone is not a reliable, affordable resource. Simply put, existing solar and wind technology can’t replace the base load power that coal provides.
That’s why Minnesota must embrace an all-of-the-above energy plan that includes a diverse set of energy resources, including coal-based electricity.
According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, coal provides roughly 46 percent of the electricity consumed by our state. Coal-based electricity is a reliable baseload resource that can be easily and economically supplemented by renewable. This diverse mix of energy sources allows Minnesotans to enjoy some of the most competitive electricity rates in the country, leaving more money in their pockets for other needs.
Minnesota already enjoys some the cleanest air in the country. In fact, the coal industry’s proactive efforts have lowered emissions from Minnesota electric utilities over the past 20years and significantly improved our state’s air quality. That’s why Minnesota continues to earn high grades on clean air from the American Lung Association.
Closing the Sherco plant altogether would cost our community about 1,000 good-paying jobs, not to mention the ripple effects a closure would have on local economies and businesses that rely on the affordable energy produced in Becker.
If we truly want to help hardworking families have affordable and reliable energy, good jobs and energy security, we must recognize the importance of preserving coal as part of our region’s energy mix. That starts with preserving the Sherco plant. I urge Gov. Mark Dayton to join national efforts to push back against EPA overreach and fight for Minnesota jobs.
Read the full story here.
- On October 13, 2015