Xcel Energy says its customers will lose out on savings unless a new federal Environmental Protection Agency rule is changed.
Xcel Energy has sued the EPA and its subsidiary Northern States Power Co. has filed a petition with the agency to change the new Cross-State Air Pollution Rule. The rule sets limits for power plant emissions. Xcel spokesman Steve Roalstad said the rule doesn't give the company enough credit for emissions it's already reduced at the High Bridge Generating Plant in St. Paul and the Riverside Plant in Minneapolis.
"We worked with legislators, regulators, stakeholder groups, environmentalists throughout the state, to come up with an effective plan to reduce emissions years ago, and it's working beautifully right now, and we run the risk of being penalized for it," Roalstad said.
A bill passed by the Minnesota Legislature in 2001 allowed the conversion of coal burning power plants to natural gas.
Xcel environmental policy manager Mike Bull says the EPA isn't giving Xcel enough credit for those actions.
"What we've determined as a result of the cross-state air pollution rule, was that we think they've misunderstood what happened with those repowering projects and are penalizing our customers by not giving us the full value of that early-action credit so we can return that to our rate-payers," Bull said.
He added that unless the rule is changed, it will set a precedent that undervalues earlier actions power plants took to reduce the environmental impact.
The EPA couldn't be immediately reached for comment.