The Minnesota Public Utilties Commission (PUC) approved some key permits for the Mesaba Energy Project; a proposed coal-gasification power plant on the Iron Range.
The PUC gave the nod to the site and a related pipeline and powerline.
The permits support the preferred location for a 603-megawatt coal gasification power plant Excelsior Energy plans near the town of Taconite.
Dick Stone, Excelsior's vice president of development and engineering, called the decision a major milestone for the project.
"It's a very important step. It's the first time the commission has approved a siting and routing permit for a large coal plant in Minnesota since the mid to late 70s," Stone said.
Stone said the company is still seeking environmental permits. The company also remains without a customer.
Xcel Energy has said 'no,' and Excelsior is asking the PUC to reverse itself and force Xcel to buy power from the plant.