Reader’s view: Minn. Power is committed to lower mercury emissionsThe writer of the Feb. 24 letter, “Minnesota Power should seek clean coal alternatives,” didn’t seem to be aware of the considerable mercury reduction Minnesota Power already has made, and plans to make, to its system.
By: Margaret Hodnik, Duluth News Tribune
The writer of the Feb. 24 letter, “Minnesota Power should seek clean coal alternatives,” didn’t seem to be aware of the considerable mercury reduction Minnesota Power already has made, and plans to make, to its system.
Minnesota Power’s two largest coal-fired plants are Boswell 3 and 4. Boswell 3 has been removing more than 90 percent of its mercury air emissions since 2009; Boswell 4 will achieve similar results within the next few years. Four of our five smaller units at Boswell and Taconite Harbor remove mercury at rates ranging from
60 percent to 80 percent, with two of those units expected to be around 90 percent removal by year’s end. We’re testing technology at Laskin to increase its mercury air emission removal from 20 percent to 70 percent or more. We’ve reduced mercury water emissions at Boswell overall by more than 50 percent and nearly eliminated mercury water emissions at Laskin and Taconite Harbor.
Mercury deposition has local and global origins from natural and man-made causes, and power production is a source. Our emission-reduction actions show we take responsibility for impacts from our operations seriously and we are working hard to minimize them. The technology solutions we deploy vary by plant, based on operating characteristics, to achieve the most reduction at the least cost to our customers. Our goal is to get the largest amount of removal from our system overall, recognizing there ultimately will be higher-end, practical limits at some facilities.
Minnesota Power significantly has reduced and will further reduce its mercury emissions. We remain committed to protecting the environment we all share while providing reliable and affordable power to families and businesses. Together with our customers, whose rates pay for emission improvements as well as renewable-energy additions, Minnesota Power’s air emissions, including mercury, have dropped about 70 percent overall since 2005.
The writer is vice president of regulatory and legislative affairs for Minnesota Power.