Minnesota Power's Boswell 3 Emissions Reduction Plan

Minnesota Power submitted the Boswell 3 Emissions Reduction Plan to the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission in October 2006.   This plan is required by the Mercury Emissions Reduction Act of 2006, and is Minnesota Power’s plan for reducing mercury, nitrogen oxides, sulfur dioxides and particulate matter from Unit 3 at the Boswell Plant in Cohasset, Minnesota.

If this proposal meets certain requirements, Minnesota Power is allowed to recover the costs of these upgrades through rate increases. These requirements are spelled out in Minn. Stat. §§ 216B.68 to 216B.688.

As part of the process to determine whether this proposal meets these requirements, the MPCA is required to verify that the mercury emissions-reduction project qualifies under Minn. Stat. § 216B.684, which asks the MPCA to:

  • evaluate the environmental and human health benefits of the proposed project;
  • assess the technical feasibility and cost-effectiveness of the mercury controls;
  • determine whether the plan meets the conditions of 216B.6851; and
  • advise the Public Utilities Commission on the appropriateness of the project.

Because the project also includes controlling nitrogen oxides (NOx) and sulfur dioxides (SO2),  the MPCA must verify that the emissions reduction qualifies under MS 216.686, subd. 1. This statute requires that the utility filing demonstrate that:

  • a project is needed to comply with state of federal control requirements that are effective after December 31, 2004.
  • that the plan provide increased environmental and public health benefits.
  • the plan does not impose excessive costs on the utility’s customers.
  • the plan will achieve at least the pollution control required by applicable state or federal statutes.

The MPCA recently completed its review of the Boswell 3 plan, and found that the project will likely achieve the Mercury Emission Reduction Act’s requirement to reduce mercury emissions by 90%, and that there are significant, real, public health benefits from the control of mercury, NOx and SO2.


To learn more about Minnesota Power’s proposal, read the file attached below.