Details emerge about future of King Plant

Xcel Energy explains latest plans for power plant along the lower river after 2028 closure.

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Allen S. King Plant (Greg Seitz/St. Croix 360)

It has been almost four years since Xcel Energy announced it would be shutting down the coal-fired Allen S. King Plant on the St. Croix River in Oak Park Heights in 2028. Plans and possibilities for the site, energy generation, and

Some details are starting to come together, thanks to a new article by Mary Divine in the Pioneer Press. Perhaps most notably, Xcel has confirmed that the landmark 785-foot smokestack will be removed after closure. At least some of the plant site will also still be involved in Xcel’s renewable energy future.

“We will reuse the grid connections at the site’s existing substation to reliably and cost-effectively provide customers with the carbon-free energy produced at the new installations via a transmission line across the St. Croix River,” spokesperson Kevin Coss told the Pioneer Press.

The King Plant began operating in 1968, after years of conflict over the proposal. While it blemished the St. Croix, it also led directly and indirectly to the river’s designation as Wild and Scenic.

Xcel is currently developing new solar farms in western Wisconsin that will more than replace the energy generated by the coal plant. The company says it will bring 650 megawatts of electricity online in the area by 2029, designed to cross the river via the existing infrastructure. Xcel intends to be generate electricity from 100 percent carbon-free sources by 2050.

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Details emerge about future of King Plant