Minnesota Public Utilities Commission Approves Xcel Energy’s Plans for Google Data Center

St. Paul, Minnesota — The Minnesota Public Utilities Commission today approved several electric service agreements and related ratemaking treatments submitted by Xcel Energy to provide electric service to a proposed new data center that would be owned and operated by an affiliate of Google (Honeycrisp Power LLC). The data center would be located in Becker, Minnesota on property adjacent to Xcel’s Sherco coal plants. This is a major procedural step in Google’s plans for the Minnesota development.

The Commission found that the proposals by Xcel are in the public interest because of the economic development and additional jobs associated with the project, both locally and state-wide. The addition of a new large customer like Google will benefit all of the utility’s customers, providing the company with the opportunity to meet its revenue requirements without raising its rates. Xcel proposes to meet Google’s energy needs by utilizing renewable resources, as required by Google.

Xcel has been working with the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development, Sherburne County, the City of Becker, and other stakeholders for approximately two years to attract the data center to the state. Xcel and Google have negotiated a rate, for an initial term of ten years, that Xcel believes is necessary to attract Google to its service territory. With its action today, the Commission approved three separate contracts proposed by Xcel:

  1. The retail electric service agreement, which includes the provision of service from renewable resources;
  2. The Competitive Rate Response Rider Agreement, which provides for the negotiated rate;
  3. The Interconnection Agreement, which identifies the necessary electrical equipment upgrades, the timing for construction of these upgrades, and the party responsible for the costs of the upgrades.

“Data centers are the engines of the internet,”  said Mars Hanna, Google’s senior lead for global energy policy and markets, to the MN PUC Tuesday. “They are the core of our operations…We seek to have a material impact on the grid…Google is very excited to be here today in partnership with Xcel Energy.”