Bill could power up Iron Range

Minnesota State Roundup

Published November 1, 2003  | November 2003 issue

Funding for a new Iron Range power plant was part of the energy bill wending its way through Congress in early October. Up to $800 million in loan guarantees would be available to Excelsior Energy Inc, which has proposed a clean-coal power plant for Hoyt Lakes, site of the recently closed LTV Steel mine and plant. The power plant would be one of the largest coal gasification projects in the country, at a cost of about $1 billion.

Excelsior has already received early funding from the state and the Iron Range Resources and Rehabilitation Agency, as well as certain legislative concessions, to begin raising funds for the project in earnest.

While the federal and state loan guarantees would push the project forward, Excelsior still must raise the money to build the plant and satisfy any concerns of the state's Department of Natural Resources and Pollution Control Agency.

The project may be seen as replacing jobs lost when LTV closed, but it could be a long wait: Construction wouldn't begin until 2005 at the earliest.

Kathy Cobb