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Minnesota Power plots future with less coal

Minnesota Power told state regulators Tuesday that it will continue to move away from coal-fired electricity over the next 15 years and generate more power from natural gas and wind as well as solar power.

The Duluth-based utility submitted its 15-year “Integrated Resource Plan” to the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission with few surprises.

Most of the plan — such as ending coal burning at its Taconite Harbor plant and adding more hydro power for Manitoba — already had been announced by the utility as part of its “Energy Forward” long-term plan.

The plan also lays out Minnesota Power’s outline of how it will meet the federal Clean Power Plan as part of the national movement away from coal in an effort to reduce carbon dioxide — the leading greenhouse gas blamed for global climate change. The move away from coal also will reduce mercury contamination and other haze- and smog-spurring pollutants, the Environmental Protection Agency says.

In addition to already announced changes, Minnesota Power has pledged to add another 200-300 megawatts of natural gas generation over the next 15 years. But the 500-page plan stopped short of detailing where and when that will happen or what coal-fired generators it will take offline in coming years to reduce carbon output.

Read full story at Duluth News Tribune