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Groundbreaking project to reduce emissions in Minnesota

World Coal,

Minnesota Power’s largest coal-fired electric generating station has launched a major construction project that will considerably reduce emissions while helping to retain competitively priced energy.

Preliminary work is underway on the project that will reduce emissions of mercury by approximately 90% and also reduce levels of particulates and sulfur at Minnesota Power’s Boswell Unit 4, its largest coal-fired unit. The unit, capable of producing 585 MW of electricity, is an 80% Minnesota Power-owned venture.

“Boswell 4 is the capstone piece of a seven year emission reduction initiative that began with our Laskin and Taconite Harbor Energy Centers in 2006, continued in 2009 with the retrofit of Boswell Unit 3,” said company CEO, Al Hodnik. “Upon completion of the Boswell 4 project Minnesota Power will have invested approximately US$ 700 million in cleaner energy, reducing mercury emissions by 90% while lowering sulfur, nitrous oxide and fine particulates by more than 70% compared to 2005 levels.”

Construction of the project will take three years, and is expected to offer approximately 500 on-site jobs.

The Unit 4 project will meet the requirements of Minnesota’s Mercury Emissions Reduction Act of 2006 two years ahead of schedule. The project was recently approved by Minnesota’s Public Utilities Commission, Department of Natural Resources and Pollution Control Agency. The environmental upgrade will be similar in scale to the retrofit undertaken by Minnesota Power at Boswell Unit 3, which employed more than 400 workers between 2008 and 2009.

“Installing state-of-the-art technology on our largest generating unit will help preserve the reliable and affordable power our customers expect, increase efficiency, lower emissions and create hundreds of constructions jobs for our region, in much the same manner as our Boswell 3 environmental upgrade did during the unprecedented recession of 2009,” Hodnik added. “The project will also ensure a diverse fuel mix as we transform our energy supply to a balanced mix of renewables, coal and natural gas over the long term.”

Adapted from press release by Katie Woodward

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