Regulators tell Great River Energy to rethink coal

ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) — Minnesota regulators have told Great River Energy to rethink its dependence on burning coal to generate electricity.

The unusual decision by the Public Utilities Commission has no immediate impact on the power supplier, but it’s another step in the transition toward the use of more renewable energy in Minnesota.

Three of the five commissioners voted Wednesday to reject Great River Energy’s long-range plan, mainly because it did not consider whether Minnesota’s second-largest power company should close one or more of its coal plants. Environmental groups and some major customers accused the utility of making bad investments in new fossil fuel plants that helped drive up rates 58 percent over seven years.

Great River Energy provides wholesale electricity to local co-ops in Minnesota and Wisconsin that serve nearly 1.7 million people.

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