Minnesota PUC to sort through Xcel resource plan objections on April 9

The Minnesota Public Utilities Commission at its April 9 meeting with look at whether to take action on any of the petitions for rehearing, reconsideration, and clarification related to a recent decision about resource acquisitions by Northern States Power d/b/a Xcel Energy.

Commission staff on April 2 filed a briefing memo outlining the issues to be addressed at the commission meeting. On Feb. 5, the commission issued its order approving Xcel power purchase agreements with Calpine (for 345 MW of new capacity out of the Mankato gas-fired plant), Geronimo Energy (for 100 MW of distributed solar capacity), and approving price terms with Xcel for a new, 215-MW gas-fired unit at Xcel’s existing Black Dog power plant. In that order, the commission declined to alter its finding of need in response to Xcel’s September 2014 update and reaffirmed its finding of need from a May 2014 order.

Regarding the Geronimo proposal, the commission reaffirmed its findings from the May 2014 order, found that the PPA was consistent with the public interest, and approved it.

The Feb. 5 order also outlined the commission’s consideration of each of the thermal power proposals. The commission found that all three thermal proposals, including Calpine/Mankato, had reasonable terms and were consistent with the public interest. Based on Xcel’s need, the financial and operational characteristics of the proposals, and the commission’s assessment of risk, among other considerations, the commission selected Calpine’s Mankato PPA and Xcel’s new Black Dog Unit 6 gas project price terms. The commission declined to select the proposed Invenergy Thermal Development LLC PPA for an 178.5-MW expansion of the existing Cannon Falls gas-fired plant.

Petitions for reconsideration, rehearing, and/or clarifications have come in from the state Department of Commerce, Invenergy, Xcel and Xcel Large Industrials (XLI). The Department, Calpine, Geronimo and Xcel filed answers to the petitions.

About Barry Cassell 20414 Articles
Barry Cassell is Chief Analyst for GenerationHub covering coal and emission controls issues, projects and policy. He has covered the coal and power generation industry for more than 24 years, beginning in November 2011 at GenerationHub and prior to that as editor of SNL Energy’s Coal Report. He was formerly with Coal Outlook for 15 years as the publication’s editor and contributing writer, and prior to that he was editor of Coal & Synfuels Technology and associate editor of The Energy Report. He has a bachelor’s degree from Central Michigan University.