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Viewpoint: See how we're 'powering our community'

Prairie Island nuclear plant is one of the region's largest employers. Our team would like to invite you to learn a bit more about what we do and how we power our community at the open house we are hosting 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday, May 20.

Our plant generates enough carbon-free, around-the-clock electricity to power 1 million homes, and we use some pretty remarkable equipment to do that. At the open house you can tour the training center, which includes an exact-replica of the plant's control room. You'll see the exact kind of equipment our operators use to learn and perfect their skills.

Also on display will be some impressive equipment we use to ensure security at the plant and the safety of our employees when they're on the job.

Even if you just want to see your friends and neighbors and enjoy a free hot dog, I invite you to join us.

Our ties with the region and the Red Wing community are deeper than many people realize. In addition to the 800 full-time employees who work at the Prairie Island plant, the economic benefits extend well beyond the work force. We are Red Wing's largest property taxpayer and support more than 2,000 additional jobs in the area. We do business with more than 60 companies in Red Wing alone. A recent economic impact study focused on the plant's operations and investments found that Prairie Island generates more than $550 million in economic activity every year.

Our employees are a part of this community. We have working relationships with community leaders and first responders, we protect the river and the wildlife we encounter, and we work with local suppliers to keep our plant clean, safe and running efficiently.

Our impact reaches beyond electricity and jobs, though. Our employees are dedicated to making Red Wing a better community. In the last year, Prairie Island employees have built a Habitat for Humanity house, raised more than $140,000 for United Way of Goodhue, Wabasha & Pierce Counties, and volunteered hundreds of hours as part of the Xcel Energy Day of Service every September. Xcel Energy has also given over $92,000 in grants to nonprofits in southeastern Minnesota.

But don't just take it from me, come join us at our open house May 20 and learn a bit more about us for yourself.

The open house will be hosted at the Prairie Island Training Center, 1660 Wakonade Drive.