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Black Dog Power PlantAfter more than 60 years, the last shipment of coal arrived by train at Xcel Engery's Black Dog Power Plant April 2015.
Black Dog Power PlantA view of the Black Dog Power Plant circa 2015.
Black Dog - an NSP coal-fixed plant that is making historyA booklet published by Northern States Power tells the history of the Black Dog plant.
NSP Flood of 1965Special issue of NSP News documenting the 1965 flood in NSP districts, including the Burnsville Black Dog Power Plant
Xcel Energy to make over Black Dog power plant in BurnsvilleThe Minneapolis utility plans to fully convert the power station from coal to natural gas by 2016, meaning the landmark smokestack now on the site would be demolished.
Xcel Energy formally asked Minnesota regulators Tuesday for permission to retire the last two coal-burning units at its 59-year-old Black Dog power plant in Burnsville and replace them with modern natural gas turbines.
The plan would more than double the electrical output of the plant from 253 megawatts to 700 megawatts and cost about $600 million, Xcel officials said.
The utility first signaled its intent in August to convert the aging plant, a move cheered by environmentalists and public health advocates.
People won’t see quite as much coming out of the stack. The reports we get downwind from Black Dog were that people would get ash settling on their vehicles,” said Robert Moffitt, spokesman for the American Lung Association in Minnesota.
The plant, built in 1952 with a single coal-burning unit, evolved over the decades. By 1960, it had four coal units, but in 2002, two of those units were decommissioned, plant director Tom Fallgren said.
Xcel installed the first of its natural gas-burning turbines then and it used the steam exhaust from that turbine to power another turbine kept from one of the decommissioned coal units, Fallgren said.
If approved, Minneapolis-based Xcel next year would tear down the last two coal units and begin construction on a natural gas facility in 2013.
The facility would have two combustion cycle turbines to produce power. A third turbine will be fed by the steam produced by the gas-burning units, Fallgren said.
The facility would employ 300 construction workers over the project period and come online in 2016, Xcel officials said.
The Black Dog plant work is similar to the utility’s recent makeover of its High Bridge and Riverside plants in St. Paul and Minneapolis. Both were aging coal-burning plants that were torn down and replaced with cleaner burning natural gas.
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