Becker considers options with scaled-back energy plant

BECKER, Minn. (AP) -- A central Minnesota city that is home to the largest coal-fired plant in the Upper Midwest is looking to diversify its economy as Xcel Energy plans to retire most of the plant's generators over the next seven years.

Minnesota Public Radio News reports that the Minneapolis-based utility recently announced plans to replace two of the three Sherburne County Generating Station generators with a smaller natural gas plant. Xcel Energy aims to eliminate all its carbon emissions from electric power by 2050.

The move has led officials in the city of Becker to imagine a future without the fossil fuel. Becker officials are looking to bring in new businesses so the community can thrive without the plant's coal units.

Xcel Energy is based in Minneapolis and has customers in eight states, including North Dakota, South Dakota and Wisconsin.