Pollution control upgrades approved for coal plantby Dan Kraker, Minnesota Public Radio
DULUTH, Minn. — The Minnesota Public Utilities Commission has approved a plan by Duluth-based Minnesota Power to install pollution control upgrades at one of the state's largest coal-fired power plants.
The $350 million project is expected to reduce mercury emissions at the utility's Boswell 4 unit in Cohasset, Minn., which provides baseload electric power to large taconite and paper plants. The new equipment will limit emissions of mercury and other pollutants.
Kevin Reuther, legal director of the Minnesota Center for Environmental Advocacy, said the company should invest instead in cleaner power.
"We thought it would be a better idea to look at retiring the plant and replacing it with cleaner options, or repowering it with natural gas which would be a cleaner option than coal," he said.
Reuther said $350 million "is a lot of money to spend on last century's technology."
Minnesota Power Vice President Dave McMillan said the utility already is converting a smaller coal plant in Hoyt Lakes to natural gas, and closing a coal unit in Schroeder.
"So gas is coming," McMillan said. "But simply taking out the coal and replacing it with gas in an asset the size of Boswell 4 is not feasible."