[NEWS] Xcel and Benson, MN Agree on Plan to Mitigate Biomass Facility Closure
– by Elizabeth Dunbar, April 3, 2017, Minnesota Public Radio
Xcel Energy and the western Minnesota city of Benson have reached an agreement on a plan to mitigate the expected closure of a biomass power plant that burns turkey litter.
Benson Power, owned by a group of investors, started producing electricity in 2007, helping Xcel fulfill a legislative mandate dating back to a 1994 settlement over nuclear waste storage at its Prairie Island plant. But Xcel says biomass power now costs up to 10 times more than new wind power, and city officials said the plant could close within a couple years.
As part of an agreement the city of Benson approved on Monday, Xcel would provide a $20 million incentive to bring a new industry to Benson. Right now, the turkey litter plant, formerly known as Fibrominn, accounts for a quarter of the city’s property tax levy, said Benson City Manager Rob Wolfington.