Xcel Energy asks to revise power boost planby Stephanie Hemphill, Minnesota Public Radio
St. Paul, Minn. — Xcel Energy wants the state to review its plan to boost power at the Prairie Island nuclear plant.
The power increase, while still a valid plan, offers less benefit to customers than previously thought because of reduced demand and other factors, the company said.
The state approved Xcel's plan to increase power output at Prairie Island back in 2009. Federal approval is taking longer than expected.
Now, Xcel projects a 40-percent lower demand for electricity than projected four years ago, and the price of natural gas is way down.
Together, the changes reduce the value of the power boost to customers, said Xcel Vice President Laura McCarten.
"We still think there's a net benefit but it's a lot smaller, and it could erode if certain factors go one way or another," McCarten said.
The company wants the Public Utilities Commission to decide whether the power boost is still a good idea. It could be next year for answer to come.
"The need for future resources are further out in time," McCarten said.
Xcel Energy would work with the Public Utilities Commission make an updated determination for demand and the best resources to meet the need.
A similar power boost is farther along at the company's other nuclear plant near Monticello, Minn.