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NSP-Minn. challenges EPA Rule to ensure customers get full value of early emissions reductions actions

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NSP-Minn. challenges EPA Rule to ensure customers get full value of early emissions reductions actions

October 10, 2011

MINNEAPOLIS – Northern States Power Co.-Minnesota, an Xcel Energy company, in order to ensure that customers receive the full value of early emissions reduction investments, has asked the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to reconsider its methodology for calculating allowable emissions for those power plants under the Cross-State Air Pollution Rule (CSAPR), issued July 6, 2011.

To further protect customers’ interests, Xcel Energy also filed a petition with the District of Columbia Circuit Court of Appeals today, asking that court to review the rule with respect to this particular issue.

CSAPR is designed to address the long-range transport of emissions of sulfur dioxide (SO2) and nitrogen oxide (NOx) across state lines. It applies to 27 states in the Eastern U.S. and Midwest, including Minnesota.

The utility is challenging CSAPR on the specific issue that the EPA failed to give credit for the early actions Xcel Energy took to reduce emissions from its High Bridge and Riverside power plants under the Metro Emissions Reduction Project (MERP). High Bridge and Riverside were constructed and operated as coal plants since before 1925.  The utility repowered these power plants to natural gas in 2008 and 2009, respectively, resulting in reductions of about 95% in emissions of SO2 and NOx.

“The rule must be changed to allow our customers to realize the benefit of the early actions we took on their behalf,” said Judy Poferl, President and CEO of NSP-MN. “The Riverside and High Bridge retrofits cost-effectively modernized two aging power plants while achieving significant reductions in all emissions.  

“Such early actions must be correctly treated, not penalized. Revising the rule will not only avoid unwarranted costs of compliance with CSAPR, but also will ensure proper treatment of early action under the many other new environmental regulations anticipated to take effect in the future,” said Poferl.

Xcel Energy (NYSE: XEL) is a major U.S. electricity and natural gas company with regulated operations in eight Western and Midwestern states. Xcel Energy provides a comprehensive portfolio of energy-related products and services to 3.3 million electricity customers and 1.8 million natural gas customers through its regulated operating companies. Company headquarters are located in Minneapolis. 

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