The Minnesota Public Utilities Commission has approved a plan by Xcel Energy to close all of its coal plants in the next eight years. Tuesday’s vote was unanimous. The utility giant proposed its “alternative plan” last summer calling for the addition of more than 46 hundred megawatts of renewable energy sources over the next decade. Two transmission lines would be built connecting western Wisconsin to the existing grid. Carbon-free resources would be used for 81 percent of the electricity Xcel generates by 2032. At that point, the utility’s carbon emissions would be reduced by 86 percent compared to 2005 levels.

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