High Bridge gets its name from the bridge that crosses the Mississippi River just downriver from the plant. Built in 1923 as a coal-powered operation, the original plant was replaced with a new natural gas fired combined cycle generating facility starting in 2005 as part of Xcel Energy’s Metro Emissions Reduction Project.
A combined cycle plant produces electricity from two sources of energy: 1) Natural gas is used as a fuel in a combustion turbine, similar to a jet engine; 2) Exhaust from the combustion turbine also is used to make steam in a heat recovery steam generator. Integrating combustion turbine and steam turbine technology provides an extremely efficient electricity production process.
The conversion of High Bridge from coal to natural gas significantly reduced all air emissions from the plant – particulates by about 92 percent, nitrogen oxide by almost 97 percent, sulfur dioxide by 99 percent and a 100 percent elimination of mercury emissions.
High Bridge also has been a major sponsor and participant in a Mississippi riverfront greening project in downtown St. Paul that involved planting hundreds of trees and shrubs.
Located in the heart of downtown St. Paul, High Bridge and its employees are very active in the community. Employees deliver Meals on Wheels, volunteer at local schools, participate in the city’s annual cleanup of Cherokee Park across the river from the plant, and support United Way and other community organizations.
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