Print Column: Xcel’s Coal-Free Plan Is Politics Not Reality


MINOT, N.D. — “Xcel Energy plans to shutter its two remaining coal plants in the Upper Midwest a decade earlier than scheduled — a move that will make the utility coal-free in the region by 2030,” Mary Divine reported for the St. Paul Pioneer Press this week.

That’s big news. All the more so because it’s not the full measure of Xcel’s ambition.

The company will rely on natural gas plants to fill in the gap left by coal, but by 2050 plans to scrap even those to produce “100% carbon-free electricity.”

One might be excused for seeing this all as a bit of a pie in the sky.

What endeavor by humanity, made up as it is by carbon-based life forms, is ever going to be 100% carbon-free?

What sort of hubris would lead anyone to think they know what the energy markets are going to be a decade hence, let alone by 2050?

But I digress. Let’s talk about the here and now.

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