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Xcel Energy submitted an updated 15-year energy plan to the Minnesota Public Utilities last week, which no longer includes plans to build the controversial 800 megawatt Sherco natural gas plant in Becker, Minnesota. Instead, Xcel proposes adding four smaller natural gas facilities in southwestern Minnesota and North Dakota at less than half the estimated $800 million cost to construct the Becker plant. The smaller plants would be a backup for renewables and would operate significantly fewer hours per year and result in fewer carbon emissions. Xcel still proposes to close their remaining coal plants by 2030 and keep the Monticello nuclear plant operating until 2040. These changes are in line with their plan to dramatically reduce carbon emissions from the electricity. The plan would reduce carbon emissions more than 85% by 2030, compared to 2005 levels. * * * More than 6,300 Portland General Electric customers in the Portland metro area lost power Sunday while the region is feeling the heat from record highs over 100 degrees. Portland broke its all-time record-high temperature Sunday when it reached 109 degrees shortly before 2 p.m. PGE said the outages were heat related. By Monday morning, most of the power outage had been restored by PGE, but several hundred customers were still affected.

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