Xcel proposes mercury reduction plan

Allan S. King power plant
The Allen S. King coal-fired power plant near Stillwater is the first of three Xcel Energy plants to go on line with new emissions reduction equipment, as part of a voluntary cleanup agreement with the state.
Courtesy of Xcel Energy

Xcel Energy has filed a proposal to reduce mercury emissions at two of its plants.

Rick Rosvold, an air quality manager with Xcel Energy, says the new technology proposed would work with the current air pollution control systems in place at the Allen S. King plant in Oak Park Heights and the Sherburne County facility in Becker.

Rosvold says the new system would catch up to 90 percent of the mercury in the coal burned at the plants.

"This plan, if approved, will result in real reductions in mercury emissions starting in 2010, and that can't be anything but a good thing for the environment," says Rosvold.

Rosvold says a state law passed in 2006, the Minnesota Mercury Emissions Reduction Act, prompted the action.

"What that act does is put together a requirement for large coal-fired boilers that are controlled with dry scrubbers to propose emission reductions for mercury by the end of 2007," says Rosvold.

The Minnesota Pollution Control Agency and the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission have to review and approve the proposals before Xcel Energy implements any new systems.

Rosvold expects the average rate impact for a residential customer would be about 16 cents per month.

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