State agencies challenge utility’s plan to purchase gas-fired power plant in Minnesota FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享Minneapolis Star Tribune:Xcel Energy’s proposed $650 million purchase of a gas-fired power plant in Mankato has run into strong opposition from two state agencies concerned about its potential impact on ratepayers.Minneapolis-based Xcel in November announced its intent to buy the large power plant from Atlanta-based Southern Power. Xcel currently buys electricity from the Mankato plant on a long-term contract. The company says owning the facility would entail significant savings for ratepayers and would help preserve electric grid reliability.But the Minnesota Department of Commerce concluded that Xcel’s proposed ownership of the Mankato plant “is unlikely to create substantial savings,” according to a recent regulatory filing. “Overall, Xcel has not shown need or any net benefits to ratepayers for Xcel’s proposed (gas plant) purchase.” Meanwhile, the Minnesota Attorney General’s Office slammed the deal in a recent regulatory filing, saying Xcel “structured the proposed acquisition in an opaque backroom deal and in the absence of any competition, transparency or meaningful need for alternative analysis.”The two state offices represent the public before the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission (PUC), which is likely to decide next month on the Mankato deal.Xcel, Minnesota’s largest electric utility, rejects criticisms from both agencies, noting in a statement to the Star Tribune that it has followed the “appropriate process” with its acquisition proposal. Xcel said the Mankato deal is vital for system stability as the company adds variable solar and wind energy while closing its coal-fired power plants, a primary source of constant power. “The purchase of the Mankato Energy Center will help pave the way to exit the use of coal in the Upper Midwest a decade earlier than planned,” Xcel said in the statement. The company declined to make an executive available for comment.In a PUC filing, the Commerce Department questioned whether the Mankato purchase is needed to facilitate Xcel’s early exit from coal.More: Regulators rip Xcel’s proposed $650 million deal for Mankato power plant
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Sr. Rita Vukovic, age 89 of the Sisters of St. Francis in Oldenburg, Indiana, died Saturday, October 5, 2019 at the convent. Born Rita Mae Vukovic on April 6, 1930 in Dayton, Ohio, she is the daughter of Catherine (Nee: Fiedler) and Paul Vukovic, the eighth of thirteen children. Rita’s father was Croatian while her mother was of Austrian descent and the couple raised their large family in the Catholic faith and sacrificed to ensure their children received a Catholic education.Sr. Rita attended St. Anthony School in Dayton, where she first met and began to admire the Sisters of St. Francis. Later she would attend Oldenburg Academy for her freshman year, but being needed at home, she returned to Dayton and completed the next three years at Chaminade Julienne High School.She entered the Franciscan community as Sr. Mary Anselm in 1948 and continued her education through the years at Marian University, Xavier University, Temple University and Central Michigan University. Sr. Rita taught at Our Lady of Lourdes and St. Michael the Archangel schools in Indianapolis, and St. Clement, St. Michael, and St. Aloysius in Cincinnati before becoming a secondary educator. Those schools included Scecina High School and St. Mary Academy in Indianapolis and Bishop Flaget High School in Chillicothe before a long tenure at Cardinal Ritter High School in Indianapolis.During her 43-years at Cardinal Ritter, Sr. Rita became part of the Ritter family and was involved throughout the school in addition to teaching English and Religion. She was honored with the Pro Ecclesia et Pontifice award in 1998, a papal honor that recognizes lay people for their service to the church. In presenting the award, Monsignor Schaedel noted, “Sr. Rita has a deep love for the church, and especially for the Eucharist. In the classroom she is a very traditional and strict teacher … but on the other hand she has a very kind heart and a real love of her students … and as they get to know her, they loved her in return.” That same year she received the Called to Excellence Award given by the West Deanery Catholic Community and was also recognized at the archdiocesan Spirit of Service Awards. When Sr. Rita was not teaching, she had an adventurous side: racing cars and flying warplanes. In 2004 she earned a high-speed ride in an Indy Racing League racecar during Cardinal’s Ritter’s annual Calcutta fundraiser on Carburetion Day. At age 74, the “nun on the run” enjoyed the ride of a lifetime as driver Sarah Fisher drove her for four laps around the world-famous Indianapolis Motor Speedway in a two-seater, 700-horsepower open-wheel race car at 175 mph. In 2005 donors bid on another adventure for Sr. Rita and she accepted the challenge to take to the air for a half-hour flight in a T-6 Texan Warbird. Sr. Rita noted, “This challenge is close to my heart as several of my family members served in WWII and Vietnam,” and with those words, she took to the air like a fighter pilot from the 1940s.Sr. Rita is survived by siblings Mary Flinn, Robert Vukovic and Thomas Vukovic. In addition to her parents, she is also preceded in death by sisters Sr. Kathryn Ann Vukovic OSF, Frances Bunger, Dorothy Newton, Ann Gale, Terri Ruble and brothers John, George, Paul and Joseph Vukovic. Visitation is Wednesday, October 9th from 1 – 3 p.m. at the convent chapel. Funeral services follow at 3 p.m. with Rev. Neri Greskoviak OFM, officiating and burial will follow in the convent cemetery. Memorials may be made to the Sisters of St. Francis, P.O. Box 100, Oldenburg, Indiana, 47036 (www.OldenburgFranciscans.org). Weigel Funeral Home is in charge of arrangements.