Xcel Energy plans to build and operate a new gas plant in North Dakota

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FILE – In this Wednesday, Nov. 28, 2018 file photo, clouds of smoke over Europe’s largest lignite power plant in Belchatow, central Poland. Greenhouse gas emissions in the European Union have been reduced by 24% compared to 1990 levels, according to the bloc’s annual climate report. Still, the EU said Monday, Nov. 30, 2020 it need to intensify efforts to make its target of making Europe the first climate neutral continent by mid-century. (AP Photo/Czarek Sokolowski, file)

Xcel Energy has scrubbed plans for an $800 million natural gas plant in Becker in the face of criticism from environmental and clean energy groups. Instead, the Minneapolis-based company said Friday it now plans to build two smaller natural gas plants — one each in southwestern Minnesota and North Dakota — at less than half the cost of the Becker plant.

The new gas plants would operate only sporadically to even out renewable power production, not almost continuously like the planned Becker plant.

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