Our $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.
Our Minnesota metro emissions reduction projects were completed over three years, from 2007 to 2009, and reduced air emissions by the following amounts.
|SO2 - Sulfur Dioxide||39,000 tons/yr||93% reduction|
|NOx - Nitrogen Oxide||34,000 tons/yr||91% reduction|
|Mercury||199 pounds/yr||81% reduction|
|Particulates||730 tons/yr||55% reduction|
|CO2 Carbon Dioxide||1.8 million tons/yr||21% reduction|
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
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
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
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