Minnesota power plant outage continues after fire

BECKER, Minn. (AP) — The Sherco 3 power plant near Becker remains out of service after a weekend fire.

A spokesman for Xcel Energy says the coal-fired plant had been down since mid-September for routine maintenance. While the unit was being tested Saturday for restarting, a malfunction occurred in the unit’s steam turbine and generator and a small fire broke out.

Fire departments were called and put out the fire. Three Xcel employees were treated for minor smoke inhalation.

Officials are trying to determine what caused the malfunction and the amount of damage.

Sherco 3 is owned jointly by Xcel Energy and the Southern Minnesota Municipal Power Agency, which provides electricity to 18 municipally-owned utilities. Sherco 3 generates 900 megawatts of electricity and accounts for 85 percent of energy production on the SMMPA system.