Minnesota Power to Retire Two Coal-Fired Generators

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By Editors of Power Engineering

Minnesota Power, a division of ALLETE Inc., announced it will retire two small coal-fired generators at its Boswell Energy Center in Cohasset, Minnesota by the end of 2018.

Though Unit 1 and Unit 2 in the Center will shut down, Unit 3 and Unit 4, the largest coal-fired generators at the center, will continue to operate.

“The decision to retire units 1 and 2 at Boswell, though difficult for our employees and host communities, is consistent with Minnesota Power’s EnergyForward strategy of diversifying its energy mix, reducing its carbon footprint and evolving away from smaller, older coal generators,” said Alan R. Hodnik, chairman, president and CEO of ALLETE. “Multimillion dollar investments in emissions reductions and new turbine rotors at Boswell Units 3 and 4 in recent years have made them among the cleanest-operating, most highly efficient electric generators in the nation.”

The closure will affect 30 employees, though the company is working to avoid layoffs through attrition and retirements.

Boswell Units 1 and 2, which each produce 65 MW, will be the last of Minnesota Power’s small coal-fired units to be retired, idled or converted to natural gas. Unit 3 has a capacity of 335-MW and Unit 4 has a capacity of 585 MW, and both were recently upgraded with new air quality control equipment.

Minnesota power now generates 25 percent of its electricity from renewable energy sources, and hopes to reduce carbon emissions by 20 percent by 2020 and 30 percent by 2025 compared to 2005 levels. 

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