Proposed Iron Range electric plant takes step forwardby Bob Kelleher, Minnesota Public Radio
A proposed coal gasification power plant on the Iron Range has taken a big step forward, but still needs customers.
A final Environmental Impact Statement has been released for Excelsior Energy's proposed 600-megawatt electric plant. The project would be the nation's first utility-scale electric plant that burns gas produced from coal. The backer promise greatly reduced sulfur, mercury and particulate emissions.
Excelsior Co-President Tom Micheletti said the Iron Range project is still alive. "It's needed now more than ever. This project will be built," Micheletti said.
But Excelsior still needs a major buyer. The company is challenging a Public Utilities Commission ruling that Xcel Energy does not have to purchase a major portion of the power plant's output. The PUC will also be asked to approve a location.
Micheletti said the company will be seeking permits for the facility in the first or second quarter next year.