Minnesota Power to end operations at coal-fired power plant

Boswell Energy Center

Caption: Boswell Energy Center

Minnesota Power, a unit of Allete (NYSE: ALE), said it planned to cease operations at a coal-fired power plant by the end of 2020.
The company said it would idle units 1 and 2 at the Taconite Harbor power plant in Minnesota in fall 2016 and end operations at the plant by 2020. The utility said idling the plant would give it more flexibility to restart the units if necessary for grid reliability. Another unit at the plant was retired in May.
The company said it also plans to reduce emissions and continue operating two smaller units at the Boswell Energy Center.
The company made the announcement in a report on its EnergyForward plan, which seeks to reduce carbon emissions and increase the use of renewable energy and natural gas-fired generation. The plan is a roadmap for the company to supply one-third coal, one-third gas and one-third renewables. Under the plan, Minnesota Power has built and secured almost 625-MW of wind capacity, upgraded existing hydropower stations in the state and signed a contract to purchase hydropower from Manitoba Hydro starting in 2020. The company is also partnering with Camp Ripley on a 10-MW large-scale solar array, will reduce emissions by 90 percent at Boswell 4, and converted the 110-MW Laskin Energy Center from coal to natural gas.

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