Prairie Island outage boosts local economy
On Oct. 13, nuclear generators at the Xcel Energy plant at Prairie Island began the process of shutting down for scheduled maintenance and refueling. This event is expected to last until mid-November and it is the second such refueling this year.
To assist with the outage, nearly 1,000 specialized contractors from across the country are now living temporarily in Red Wing.
“Refueling projects like this are a big part of how Prairie Island contributes $550 million in economic activity each year,” said Patty Brown, Red Wing Area Chamber of Commerce executive director. “The additional workers contribute significantly to our community by staying here and spending money locally.”
During its normal yearlong operating schedule, Xcel employs about 2,000 people — including contractors — at Prairie Island. The plant is among Red Wing’s largest local employers and is the most significant property tax contributor, paying $21.4 million in 2016.
The two nuclear reactors at Prairie Island plus the Monticello reactor also result in 10.5 million tons of carbon avoidance for the state, and the Prairie Island nuclear plant is the largest carbon-free energy source in Minnesota.