June 12 Minnesota utility regulators approved
Minnesota Power's $350 plan to retrofit the 585-megawatt Unit 4
at the Boswell coal-fired power plant to reduce mercury
emissions to comply with stricter federal environmental
Minnesota Power, a unit of Allete Inc, said the
Boswell project is part of its long-term goal to diversify its
energy mix to one-third renewable, one-third natural gas and
one-third coal by the end of the next decade.
"We've made great strides in a relatively short amount of
time to diversify our energy mix, going from 5 percent renewable
and 95 percent coal in 2005 to a 20 percent renewable mix
today," Amy Rutledge, Minnesota Power spokeswoman, told Reuters
The company hopes to start work on Boswell 4 after state
regulators approve of an air permit. The unit entered service in
Minnesota Power increased the amount of renewable power it
delivers to customers in part with the recent completion of its
292-MW Bison wind farm in North Dakota.
The company also expects to buy 250 MW of hydropower from
Manitoba Hydro in Canada beginning in 2020, Rutledge said.
As for natural gas, Minnesota Power is seeking state
approval to convert its 110-MW Laskin coal-fired power plant to
burn natural gas in 2015, and Rutledge said the company is also
evaluating a gas resource addition in the 2020 and beyond
Minnesota Power provides electric service to 143,000
customers in northeast Minnesota.