Sierra Club To Xcel Energy: ‘Less Dirty Than Coal’ Is Still Too Dirty

Commitments To Coal Retirement & Solar A Great Start, but Fracked Gas Has To Go

Contact: Rebecca Kling,

MINNEAPOLIS, MN -- Earlier today, Xcel Energy released its integrated resource plan, or IRP, following a preview in late May. As expected, Xcel included commitments to retire its remaining coal plants a decade earlier than previously stated, and the addition of at least 4,000 MW of solar capacity to Xcel’s system, as well as historic commitments to energy efficiency. Xcel also incorrectly claims in its IRP that new fracked gas construction is necessary to replace outgoing coal power, and that the life of Minnesota’s Monticello nuclear plant must be extended an extra decade, from 2030 to 2040. The IRP now goes to the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission (PUC), the state agency that oversees utilities, which will provide opportunities for public comment.

In response Jessica Tritsch, Senior Campaign Representative with the Sierra Club Beyond Coal Campaign, issued the following statement:

“Minnesotans have been calling for a transition from coal to 100% clean, renewable energy for more than a decade. Xcel’s proposal to close its remaining coal plants and invest in historic levels of solar and energy efficiency is certainly essential to move us on this path. Unfortunately, Xcel also proposes to build a huge new expensive and unnecessary gas plant and to extend the license of the Monticello nuclear plant by a decade. We can’t avoid the dangerous and expensive impacts of the climate crisis if we swap coal for another polluting fossil fuel, and every dollar Xcel spends on nuclear is one less spent on renewables.

“Minnesota has an opportunity to move to 100% clean, renewable energy. We could show that it’s possible to protect our state’s natural beauty, uphold the Minnesota way of life, and provide reliable power at low cost for customers, all while supporting well-paying jobs. But that won’t be possible if Xcel Energy continues to approach clean energy in fits and starts, taking one step back for every two steps forward.”

About the Sierra Club

The Sierra Club is America’s largest and most influential grassroots environmental organization, with more than 3.5 million members and supporters. In addition to protecting every person's right to get outdoors and access the healing power of nature, the Sierra Club works to promote clean energy, safeguard the health of our communities, protect wildlife, and preserve our remaining wild places through grassroots activism, public education, lobbying, and legal action. For more information, visit