Xcel sees Minnesota Sherco 3 coal unit back soon

Sept 4 Wed Sep 4, 2013 3:13pm EDT

Sept 4 (Reuters) - Xcel Energy Inc has told Minnesota utility regulators it expects the 860-megawatt Unit 3 at the Sherburne County coal-fired power plant to return to service before Sept. 30, an Xcel spokeswoman said on Wednesday.

The unit shut in November 2011 due to extensive turbine damage.

In a letter delivered on Tuesday to the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission, Xcel said the restoration work on the unit, called Sherco 3, has been completed.

"We are currently performing pre-operational checks and anticipate initial grid synchronization to occur this week," according to a copy of the letter obtained by Reuters.

"Once all testing is completed, Sherco 3 will be released for commercial operation and dispatch ... We anticipate the testing will be completed within the next few weeks," the letter said.

There are three units at the 2,222-MW Sherburne coal plant - the 680-MW Unit 1 built in 1976, the 682-MW Unit 2 built in 1977 and the 860-MW Unit 3 built in 1987.

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