STATUS: In progress with opposition
OPPOSITION: Sierra Club; Citizens Against the Mesaba Project
BACKGROUND: The Mesaba Energy Project is a $2 billion innovative coal gasification project employing innovative IGCC technology, first formally proposed in early 2005. The project was awarded in 2006 and has support from the State of Minnesota and the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE).
In November 2009, DOE issued a final environmental impact statement with respect to a proposal to provide a total of $36 million in co-funding, through a cooperative agreement with the developer, for the definition and preliminary design and one-year operational demonstration testing period for Phase I of the project. The project was selected in Round 2 of funding opportunity announcements issued for the Clean Coal Power Initiative (CCPI) as authorized under Pubic Law No. 107-63. In addition, DOE may provide a loan guarantee for Phase I, a nominal 600 megawatt plant. Phase II, which would be an identical, co-located 600 megawatt plant, would be privately financed. DOE disclosed that $22,245,505 of the total funding has already been made available to the developer.
The Minnesota Public Utility Commission (PUC) issued approved construction permits in March 2010. The developer has yet to apply for air permits. Sierra Club likely will appeal the air permit to the Environmental Protection Agency if granted as part of its national strategy to litigate against all coal use.
LAST UPDATED: November 24, 2010