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
The Reds have apparently parted ways with center fielder Billy Hamilton. They did not offer him a contract for 2019. Hamilton has been a candidate for a Golden Glove as a center fielder the last 5 years as a Cincinnati Red.There is no secret to why the Reds are willing to part with Hamilton. He obliviously never learned how to get on base. His speed was great as a center fielder, but in stolen bases he never reached his potential because he could only get on base approximately 30% of the time. With who the Reds have available for next year, Hamilton was expendable. He would have commanded a 4+million dollar contract, and I agree with the Reds that he was not worth it.I don’t know if it is Hamilton or the Reds who are responsible for Billy’s hitting woes, but he never really improved. He has a loop in his batting style and this led to many pop ups and fly balls which became simple outs. I like Hamilton, but if you can’t hit, you can’t play major league baseball.