Boswell Energy Center: Environmental Improvement Project

By KBJR News 1

November 1, 2013 Updated Nov 1, 2013 at 12:34 PM CDT

Cohasset, MN (NNCNOW.com) --- The major environmental improvement construction project on Minnesota Power's largest electric generating station features a technology upgrade that will reduce levels of mercury and sulfur at Minnesota Power's largest coal-fired unit.

"This is not just an investment in technology and in this plant... this is a sizeable and significant investment in the health of our regions economy, and an investment in the health of our states environment," said Jim Hoolihan, an ALLETE board member.

"We can help transform the region... help transform the state of Minnesota's energy policy...grow Allete in the process, and help the nation transform its energy supply," said Al Hodnik, ALLETE's chief executive officer.

But not only will the company become more energy efficient... the construction for the project and maintenance of the new facility that will house the new equipment will also create up to 500 jobs, boosting the local economy.

"Let business make the investments that we're making today, and put people to work," said Hodnik.

Boswell managers say that there are many benefits that will come from the change.

"The plan that we're implementing across Minnesota reduce our mercury emissions by 2016 will prevent up to 150 premature deaths in Minnesota and will have an economic benefit of $1.2 billion in health benefits," said John Linc Stine of the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency.

The total cost of the project will be approximately $431 million, and construction is expected to take three years.

"When we get done with this in three years time when the sun is shining on the day that we commission it, it'll be one of the cleanest units in the nation," said Hodnik.

The project will be complete sometime in 2016.

The Unit 4 project will meet the requirements of Minnesota's Mercury Emissions Reduction Act two years ahead of schedule.

Elsa Robins