Google's plans to build a data center in Becker, Minn., took a step forward Tuesday when state utilities regulators OK'd agreements between Google and Xcel Energy to provide electricity for the data center from two dedicated wind farms.

Google wants to build the center on land next to Xcel Energy's Sherco power plant. Becker Mayor Tracy Bertram told the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission that the project would help her community transition away from a coal-based economy after two of Sherco's three units are scheduled to be shut down.

"Google will be the anchor tenant in our business park that will help attract even more capital investments, provide professional level wages, a new economy of jobs and a long-term economic vitality," she said.

MPR