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Studies and Reports > 2009 MN Biennial Report > NE Planning Zone > Needs: 6.3.8 Mesaba IGCC Generation Facility

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Transmission Projects Report 2009
Section 6.3: Northeast Zone
p. 100

6.3.8 Mesaba IGCC Generation Facility

Tracking Number. 2005-NE-N2

Utility. Excelsior Energy, Inc.

Inadequacy. In 2005, Excelsior Energy Inc. (“Excelsior”), an independent energy development company, proposed to construct and operate the Mesaba Energy Project (the “Project”), an Integrated Coal Gasification Combined Cycle (IGCC) power plant to be located on the Iron Range. The Project would have to be interconnected with the transmission grid in order to provide an outlet for the power to be generated.

A map of the area is shown following the discussion.

Alternatives. Excelsior has developed a number of 230 and 345 kV development concepts for the generator outlet facilities to deliver the output of both phases of generation from the Project at two alternative sites (a preferred West Range Site near Taconite, Minnesota, and an alternative East Range Site near Hoyt Lakes). To minimize the need for new right of way for the East Range site, Excelsior proposed that these new generator outlet lines replace existing Minnesota Power 115 kV lines with new double circuit structures carrying both the existing 115 kV line and the 345 kV generator outlet line.

Analysis. Excelsior submitted an interconnection request to MISO for the West Range site in May 2005 (designated by MISO as Project G519) and for the East Range site in October 2004 (MISO Project G477). The MISO generator interconnection process has been completed for both G519 and G477 (Mesaba 1).

Because of new planned facilities in the local area, including the Boswell-Wilton 230 kV line (Tracking Number 2005-NW-N2) and the Essar Steel Minnesota LLC (ESML) Project (Tracking Number 2007-NE-N2), MISO determined that a restudy of the Mesaba Energy Project was necessary. The restudy determined that the Boswell-Riverton 230 kV line was no longer required but that an existing 115 kV line between Grand Rapids and Riverton substations would need to be upgraded instead. MISO studies are pending to establish the schedule and cost for this network upgrade. MISO system studies are also pending to determine what network upgrades will be required to interconnect Mesaba 2, designated as G597 by MISO, to the grid.

Schedule. On July 7, 2009, the Public Utilities Commission issued its Order Denying Motions and Reconsideration in the matter involving Excelsior Energy’s petition for approval of a Power Purchase Agreement with Xcel Energy, in which the PUC found that a proposed PPA was not in the public interest and that the facility was not a least-cost resource. Excelsior Energy has appealed that decision to the Minnesota Court of Appeals and the matter is now before the Court.

PUC Docket Numbers. GS-06-668 (Site Permit and Route Permit) M-05-1993 (approval of Power Purchase Agreement)


Transmission Projects Report 2009
Section 6.3: Northeast Zone
p. 101

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