Minnesota utility regulators Thursday unanimously approved Minnesota Power's plan to close its two Cohasset coal generators by 2035 and add significant amounts of renewable power.
As part of its long-term resource plan, the Duluth-based utility will close one coal generator at its Boswell Energy Center by Jan. 1, 2030, and the other by 2035.
Minnesota Power, which serves 145,000 customers in northeastern Minnesota, will also study the feasibility of closing the second Boswell coal generator as early as 2030. And — for the first time — it will roll out grid batteries to store electricity.
The company and a host of clean energy organizations, labor unions and the city of Cohasset filed an agreement on the resource plan with utility regulators earlier this week. The Minnesota Public Utilities Commission (PUC) essentially voted in favor of the agreement's terms.
Electric utilities in Minnesota every few years must submit long-term power generation plans to state regulators, focusing on the next five years but considering the next 15.
In the plan approved Thursday, Minnesota Power agreed to double the amount of wind power it had planned to add to its system by 2030 and increase by 50% its planned solar additions.
Fresh Energy, the Minnesota Center for Environmental Advocacy, the Sierra Club and Clean Grid Alliance signed on to the agreement with Minnesota Power this week.
Figuring out how to fully replace all of its lost coal electricity from the Cohasset plant — while remaining a reliable electricity provider — will remain a task for Minnesota Power in its next long-term resource plan, slated for 2025.