Schafer: Sherco's fate is tricky to call, but let's decide soon

  • Article by: LEE SCHAFER , Star Tribune
  • Updated: February 9, 2014 - 5:55 AM

On a cold morning’s drive from Minneapolis to the Sherco Generating Station in Becker, Minn., it soon became obvious that the detailed map and directions Xcel Energy had e-mailed could have been left at home.

  • 15
  • Comments

  • Results per page:
besseFeb. 8, 14 3:06 PM

Whatever the decision, keep in mind that the cost simply gets passed thru to the customers. I live in view of the stacks and it is comforting to see the steam emerging in this cold weather---it means there will be heat in my house! This should not be a rush to judgment. Get all the facts together.

14
0
jbrillFeb. 8, 14 7:24 PM

I would certainly like to see a natural gas fired plant. We're burning off natural gas in north dakota at the wells because there is no pipeline capacity to bring it in. Spend the money to build a pipeline for the virtually free gas. We can stop burning coal, and burn natural gas that would have been burned anyway. Less carbon, less mercury, and still baseline generating capacity.

7
4
esandeenFeb. 8, 14 7:59 PM

Thanks for a level-headed, well-written article about the environmental impact of the Sherco plant, as well as the complexities involved with trying to replace it with something cleaner. It's really the base-load factor that's trickiest, in my opinion. Wind in MN produced 7,615 thousand MWh in 2012. Sherco produced 8,235 thousand MWh. So wind was on par last year, but if we're to replace more fossil plants with renewables, we'll need other mechanisms to balance the grid, whether it's storage, demand response, more extensive transmission, or more gas plants to balance it out.

4
4
lineupguruFeb. 8, 14 8:59 PM

The technology used by utilities to reduce mercury and ecetera from the emissions keeps on getting better and better. Therefore, instead of spending hundreds of millions to convert to natural gas Xcel should just invest in better emission control equipment. It will be much cheaper than converting to natural gas turbines. Coal is very abundant and the price is very stable compared to natural gas. The price of natural gas can very unpredictable. Just ask the people using propane to heat their houses.

9
2
jhb8426Feb. 9, 1412:13 AM

Let's be careful we don't turn this state into another energy bound fiefdom like California. Just because Enron's gone doesn't mean it can't happen again.

10
0
nonewtaxesFeb. 9, 14 6:38 AM

Before you take a position on this issue, consider the price of electricity in California and apply it to your current average bill. Take your current bill and multiply by 4. This multiple is based on a Google search for the average cost of electricity in Los Angeles and Minneapolis.

9
2
esandeenFeb. 9, 1410:08 AM

The average retail price of electricity in CA was 15.34 cents/kWh in 2012 - in MN, it was 11.35 cents/kWh. About 35% higher, not four times higher. Looking directly at LA, the BLS says 22 cents/kWh in LA for residential electricity Dec 2013. So LA does seem to be a bit higher, but not 4x Minneapolis.

2
1
eddie55431Feb. 9, 1410:32 AM

This writer assumes that we need to eliminate coal from the mix of energy sources, which totally ignores the vulnerability that would be injected into our energy supply if that happened. Natgas is a nice cheap alternative to coal right now, but the price of that commodity will rise as more and more generation is switched over. In addition, as the recent natagas pipeline problems so starkly illustrated, gas is an interruptable souce of power. Gas is produced and goes into the pipeline on one end and comes out on the other. There is no viable long term on-site storage option for gas. Coal, on the other hand, sits in a pile and waits to release it's energy with zero storage costs. It has higher energy per volume, and isn't subject to demand pricing, so the utilities can buy and stock coal when it is cheapest to move and use it when there is the most demand. There is no viable replacement for coal other than nuclear. The author is trying to use the Al Gore, "We need to do something RIGHT NOW!" scare tactics because the anthropogenic Global warming scam has run it's course and people are waking up to the fact that the effects of human-emitted CO2 are minimal and their affect on the environment have been vastly overstated. Never have so many been fooled by so few for so long....but the average person is waking up to the fact that we have been taken for a ride by the powers that be that are profiting from the AGW gravy train.

8
5
fiveofusFeb. 9, 1412:32 PM

If you're for zero-emissions, support nuclear power. Dispatchable, clean base load power. When we get a real president, maybe we'll get a real energy secretary, and a real energy policy, something we've needed for decades.

6
2
nonewtaxesFeb. 9, 14 4:05 PM

esandeen, do a little more research into the price of electricity in LA. My bill here has several usage tiers, based on what the state regards as "appropriate usage" for my residence. Few people actually pay the first tier price.

2
0

Comment on this story   |  

ADVERTISEMENT

Connect with twitterConnect with facebookConnect with Google+Connect with PinterestConnect with PinterestConnect with RssfeedConnect with email newsletters

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT