ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) — Environmentalists hope to nudge regulators toward taking a harder look at the future of Minnesota’s largest coal-fired power plant.

The Public Utilities Commission will hear arguments Thursday about Xcel Energy’s long-term planning process for its future power needs.

The Sierra Club and other groups are pushing for Xcel to retire its Sherco 1 and 2 units near Becker, and to invest the money it would otherwise spend on upgrading them on renewable energy and conservation instead.

Jessica Tritsch of the Sierra Club’s Beyond Coal Campaign says they don’t expect a definite decision on Sherco’s future. But the PUC will discuss issues Xcel’s planning studies should cover. And she says even small recommendations can have big results.

Xcel says sticking with coal is the most economical course for Sherco for now.

(© Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)


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