In an effort to reduce its carbon footprint Xcel Energy announced on Monday, May 20, that it plans to retire its last coal plants in the Upper Midwest by 2030, a decade before they were scheduled to be closed.

This plan to reduce carbon means that Xcel will work to keep the Monticello nuclear plant open until at least 2040; it was scheduled to close in 2030.

The Prairie Island plant, which has two units scheduled to close in 2033 and 2034, is not part of that discussion now.

According to a brief from Xcel, these are some of the steps in the "Upper Midwest Energy Plan." In July Xcel will submit this plan to the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission.

"If approved," states the brief, "the plan would lead to a more than 80% reduction in carbon emissions in the region by 2030, compared to 2005."

By 2022 the company plans to add 1,850 megawatts of wind and more than 3,000 megawatts of new solar by 2030.

The Monticello Plant is pegged as a part of reaching the goal of 100% carbon free electricity by 2050.

The Prairie Island plant in Red Wing may still be renewed. However, Randy Fordice, a senior media relations representative for the company, stated that "the overall future won't be determined for a few more years." Xcel may seek to relicense Unit 1 and 2, but the decision will probably not be made this year.