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Coal Shortage at Electric Plants

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LaCrosse, WI (KELO AM) - The lack of rail capacity is affecting more than getting commodities to market.  It is also affecting power plants.

The LaCrosse Tribune is reporting that Xcel energy is having coal delivery issues to one of Minnesota’s largest electricity generators.  The Sherco plant a 2,500 megawatt generating facility northwest of Minneapolis, is 811,000 tons short of its ideal fuel inventory.

The plant generates about a quarter of the electricity Xcel delivers to a five state Midwest region, serving about 1.9 million homes.

The plant is not set up to use natural gas, so no coal, no electricity.  Plants in other states, including North Dakota and Kansas are reporting similar problems.

Burlington Northern is the sole rail service to the Xcel plant.  Lawmakers from Wisconsin, Minnesota and Iowa, along with Xcel and other power companies, have expressed concern over the coal shortage to the Surface Transportation Board.

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