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Minnesota Metro Emissions Reduction Project

Our $1 billion effort reduced air emissions from Twin Cities-area power plants


Xcel Energy’s $1 billion voluntary Minnesota Metro Emissions Reduction Project initiative involved significantly reduced air emissions from three Twin Cities-area power plants while increasing electricity output by around 300 megawatts. MERP reflects our commitment to provide reliable energy to customers while reducing the environmental impact of generating that power.

The project stems from an emissions reduction bill passed during the 2001 legislative session as a result of work by legislative leaders, state agencies, the Izaak Walton League, Xcel Energy and others. The legislation encourages utilities to make voluntary emissions reductions and provides a mechanism for utilities to recover the costs for qualifying voluntary emissions reduction projects through an increase on customer bills.

Our energy experts thoroughly evaluated emissions reduction alternatives at our Twin Cities plants to identify projects that provide significant environmental benefits at a reasonable cost to our customers. Our proposal was authorized in 2002 by the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission. The average cost to a typical residential customer is about $3.50 a month.

Environmental Benefits

Our Minnesota metro emissions reduction projects were completed over three years, from 2007 to 2009, and reduced air emissions by the following amounts.

Emissions Results 

SO2 Sulfur Dioxide 39,000 tons/yr 93 percent reduction
NOx Nitrogen Oxide 34,000 tons/yr 91 percent reduction
Mercury 199 pounds/yr 81 percent reduction
Particulates 730 tons/yr 55 percent reduction
CO2 Carbon Dioxide 1.8 million tons/yr 21 percent reduction


Summary of Improvements

Allen S. King Plant Rehabilitation Project (Oak Park Heights, Minn.)

Project involved rehabilitating the existing coal-powered unit with a new turbine, upgraded steam generator and state-of-the art emissions control equipment.

Completed: July 2007

Upgraded capacity: 500-550 megawatts

High Bridge Plant Combined Cycle Project (St. Paul, Minn.)

Project involved replacing existing coal operations with a new natural gas combined-cycle facility that includes two combustion turbines, corresponding heat-recovery steam generators and a new steam turbine.

Completed: May 2008

Upgraded capacity: 575 megawatts

Riverside Plant Re-powering Project (Minneapolis, Minn.)

Project involved replacing two existing coal-powered units with a natural gas combined cycle arrangement, including two combustion turbines and corresponding heat-recovery steam generators used to drive an existing steam turbine.

Completed: May 2009

Upgraded capacity: 460 megawatts

Choose your state

Our products and services differ based on state. Please select your state (or the state you're interested in) from the list to the left.

Why do our products and services differ based on state? Because our business is regulated by state. We have regulated operations in eight Western and Midwestern states. The different regulatory body for each state we serve determines what products and services we deliver in that state.