Black Dog Plant – photo by Rick Orndorf.

Xcel Energy is cancelling some of its projects, choosing to shut down Black Dog coal plant rather than spent the $$$, our ratepayer $$$, to convert it to gas; pulling out of the Prairie Island uprate (though on this one it’s hard to tell if it’s economics or technical difficulties):

The Minneapolis-based utility said that its latest forecasts show demand for electricity in 2016 will be 5 percent less than previously forecast, according to Laura McCarten, regional vice president for Northern States Power Minnesota, the Xcel unit covering the Upper Midwest.

The Black Dog project would have more than doubled the plant’s output from 253 megawatts to 700 megawatts and reduced harmful emissions. Xcel also will reassess its plans to increase the power output at its Prairie Island Nuclear Generating Plant near Red Wing, Minn., and hold off on any new wind projects, the utility said.

From this, found in St.PPP (keep in mind that “would have more than doubled the plant’s output” is coal v. gas peaking power:

Xcel puts off power plant upgrades

And also this choice tidbit:

Xcel also has discovered that uprating a nuclear power plant is harder than it looks after running into snags on a similar project at its Monticello Nuclear Power Plant this year.

For the  financial-wonkishettes out there:

Xcel’s 3Q 2011 10-Q (you’re welcome)

Seeking Alpha:

Xcel Energy CEO Discusses Q3 2011 Results-Earnings Call Transcript

Note that Xcel Energy’s expected residential demand is 0.5-1.0% increase…

Delivering On The Plan – Theresa Madden

For the December 1, 2011 Xcel Energy’s Investors Dog & Ponies GO HERE!

Back to coal plants… Xcel Energy’s Sherco 3 down, to remain down, after a fire:

Becker’s Sherco plant unit to be silent till spring

And Xcel’s Black Dog blew up a while ago… what’s up with that trend?

BOOM! at Xcel’s Black Dog plant

September 22nd, 2010

…so let me see… they admit that demand is way down, that there’s too much generation… and we need CapX 2020 exactly why???

And consider that the Sherco plant and Black Dog plant are problem puppies in their pack — a direct quote from the 10-Q above:

NSP-Minnesota NOV — In June 2011, NSP-Minnesota received an NOV from the EPA alleging violations of the NSR requirements of the CAA at the Sherco plant and Black Dog plant in Minnesota. The NOV specifically alleges that various maintenance, repair and replacement projects undertaken at the plants in the mid 2000s should have required a permit under the NSR process. NSP-Minnesota believes it has acted in full compliance with the CAA and NSR process. NSP-Minnesota also believes that the projects identified in the NOV fit within the routine maintenance, repair and replacement exemption contained within the NSR regulations or are otherwise not subject to the NSR requirements. NSP-Minnesota disagrees with the assertions contained in the NOV and intends to vigorously defend its position. It is not known whether any costs would be incurred as a result of this notice.

BOOM! at Xcel’s Black Dog plant

September 22nd, 2010

An “ignition event” in the coal hopper, more commonly called an explosion and fire… Three firefighters on the scene were injured when it blew after they arrived.

This’ll be old news, but I’ve been incommunicado for a while, lost in the mountains of the Northwest, where there is no cell, no internet… what a concept!


Photo by Bill Klotz, Finance & Commerce (Fair Use!)

An interesting quote:

“I would say it’s pretty significant,” said Behnken, gesturing toward the Black Dog plant from a nearby park. Though reporters were not allowed closer access to the plant, it was apparent from a distance that the explosion’s force far exceeded initial references to it as a small explosion in a coal bin.

Here’s some video from KARE 11 with shots of the exterior damage:

In the St. Paul Pioneer Press:

3 firefighters hurt in blast at Xcel Energy coal plant in Burnsville

Workers noticed smoldering coal bin

By Emily Cutts and Deepta Holalkere
Pioneer Press
Updated: 09/21/2010 11:47:43 PM CDT

Three Burnsville firefighters were injured Tuesday morning at a power plant fire and explosion that shook local residents out of bed.

The fire started in a smoldering coal bin at Xcel Energy’s Black Dog power plant in Burnsville, the company said. As fire crews tried to extinguish the flames, a blast in the bin rocked the plant.

Two of the firefighters were treated at the scene for minor burns and returned to fighting the fire. A third was taken to Regions Hospital in St. Paul with a leg injury, said Burnsville police Sgt. Jef Behnken.

“I heard a boom and then a bigger boom,” said Nancy Caneff, who lives nearby. Caneff was in bed when the blasts — the second strong enough to shake her bed — happened.

Firefighters put out two relatively small fires at the plant by 2 p.m. Tuesday but remained on site through the afternoon to handle hot spots, Xcel spokesman Tom Hoen said.
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