Xcel files to expand Minn. coal-fired power plant

LOS ANGELES Thu Jan 4, 2007 3:57pm EST

LOS ANGELES Jan 4 (Reuters) - Xcel Energy (XEL.N) on Thursday said it would expand the 2,400-megawatt coal-fired Sherco plant in Minnesota by 140 MW and add emissions controls.

Xcel filed papers on Tuesday with the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission on the expansion of the plant in Becker, Minnesota, in Sherburne County, about 50 miles northwest of Minneapolis.

Xcel said it would by Sept. 1 file with the Minnesota PUC plans for a rate recovery of an estimated $900 million in relation to the expansion.

If approved by the Minnesota PUC, Xcel plans to begin construction in late 2008 and complete work by 2012, Xcel said.

"Under our plan, Xcel Energy customers would receive a cleaner environment and additional baseload energy," said Richard Kelly, Xcel chairman, president and CEO, in the company's press statement.

Xcel said Sherco's life will be extended in the expansion and improved emissions controls will cut down release of mercury, nitrogen oxides, sulfur dioxide and particulates.

Xcel serves about 3.3 million electricity customers and 1.8 million natural gas customers through its regulated operating companies in eight states. Xcel is based in Minneapolis.

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