Legislation for the Sherco Power plant in Sherburne County cleared a major hurdle on Thursday, following its passage out of the Minnesota Senate Energy and Utilities Finance and Policy Committee. The bill, Senate File 85, authorizes Xcel Energy to build a natural gas combined cycle electric generation plant on the site of the current Sherco plant in Becker, Minnesota.
“I am very pleased that this legislation has the bipartisan support of fellow lawmakers. The Public Utilities Commission has been dragging its feet on this, bowing to environmentalist agendas instead of acting in the best interests of the citizens of our communities,” said Sen. Andrew Mathews (R-Milaca), the chief author of the bill.
“The bill has built-in protections for consumers and ratepayers and is an important step in ensuring the stability of our baseload energy grid for all of Central Minnesota,” Sen. Mathews continued. “Not to mention the fact that the community is relying on the continued investment of Xcel Energy, which is currently responsible for roughly three-fourths of the city’s property taxes, and which provides good-paying jobs to hundreds of area people.”
The legislation now awaits a vote by the full Senate. The companion legislation, House File 113, has passed out of its committee process and awaits a full vote on the House floor.
Sen. Mathews is serving his first term in the Minnesota Senate. He represents Senate District 15, which includes communities in Benton, Kanabec, Mille Lacs, Morrison, Sherburne, and Wright counties.