A little birdie has been looking around at Mesaba — but first…

Here’s a report of an obvious problem with IGCC from John Blair, Valley Watch— the pipedream is just that, and the truth that those of us in the midst of coal gasification know too well is finally coming out publicly:

Carbon capture plans failing – IEA

2010-06-14 18:22

London – The world is failing to meet goals to develop carbon capture technology, the energy watchdog to industrialised economies said on Monday as it reported back to G8 countries on their past promises.

At a summit in Japan two years ago, eight of the world’s leading economies backed an International Energy Agency goal to launch 20 large-scale projects to demonstrate carbon capture and storage technology by 2010.

In fact there were only five such projects in operation, all commissioned before the 2008 summit, said the energy adviser to 28 developed countries ahead of next week’s G8 summit in Canada.

None of those existing projects tested the full chain of CCS processes, which involves trapping and then piping and storing underground carbon emissions from coal and gas power plants.

“(The 2010 goal) remains a challenge and will require that governments and industry work in concert,” the IEA said in a report to the Canada G8 summit.

Large projects

One new Australian project had launched, however, and was proceeding to construction to test the full CCS process.

Also on a positive note, the IEA estimated that governments had committed over the past two years to provide over $26bn in funding support for demonstration projects. That compares with an annual funding need of between $5bn and $6.5bn over the next decade.

The IEA argues that CCS is a vital technology to fight climate change because it could allow developing countries to continue to burn supplies of cheap coal and still curb carbon emissions, as they try to grow their economies. Developing countries are now the main global source of rising greenhouse gas emissions.

The IEA estimates that about 100 CCS large-scale projects are needed worldwide by 2020, about half in developing countries, to stay within safer limits of climate change.

The report calculated that governments are committed to support between 19 and 43 large projects by 2020, and cited other estimates of about 80 projects at various stages of development.

“Much greater effort will be needed to meet future deployment levels,” it said.

– Reuters

Meanwhile, the little birdie…  We’ve been in this odd and unenviable place, a big horrible coal gasification plant, the Mesaba Project, promoted by Excelsior Energy, a shell corp with nada for assets, which demanded a Power Purchase Agreement then denied by the PUC, and yet inexplicably granted a siting permit for not just “one” but TWO projects totalling over 1,000MW of IGCC!  OH… MY… DOG!  So it’s in limbo land, and we’re wondering how on earth this thing stays on life support as it rots away…

The little birdie had this report:

Excelsior Energy was supposed to have filed a new air permit, and the MPCA was supposed to have reviewed the 2006 air permit application “to assure that the protocol was acceptable to federal land managers.”  Well, that didn’t happen, the “review” by MPCA OR the filing of the new air permit, which was supposed to have been filed last week.

2006 Excelsior Energy Mesaba Project Air Permit

… and the little birdie while looking around found this in their “Frequently Asked Questions” on their site, then scroll down to “View common transmission misconceptions” to p. 2:

Myth: The Mesaba Project will force wind energy off from the transmission grid.

Fact: Mesaba will make upgrades to the transmission grid so that the electricity from the Mesaba Project does not interfere with any existing or planned wind energy.

This myth stems from a misinterpretation of the Mesaba Unit One G477 and G519 System Impact Reports. In preparing the reports, the engineers determined that their base case was unrealistic. Therefore, they used their engineering judgment to make some assumptions so the reports could provide meaningful results. Although those assumptions were made only for the purposes of the report, an internet “blogger” misinterpreted the assumptions to mean that the Mesaba Project would force wind energy off from the transmission grid. In fact, the transmission upgrades associated with the Mesaba Project will ensure that it will not interfere with any “network resources” such as wind farms.


And this “Myth” section is a lot like their letter to Commerce regarding EIS Scoping Comments:

Excelsior Energy Response to EIS Scoping Comments 11-7-06

Anyway, I’d like to see this blog posting they’re referring to!  Misinterpreted?  Naaaaaaah, it’s all the interpretations of those presenting and reviewing at the MAPP meeting.  Their claims are sorta like the matter of using a site with existing infrastructure:


I wonder what it was that blew their dress up… could it be:

So now it’s deliverable??? SWAG! January 9th, 2007

They caaalll Mesaaaba liiiars… November 25th, 2006

It’s all about this study — READ IT FOR YOURSELF:

Deliverability Study Report G-519 12-15-06

Anyway, their air permit application was submitted, and it is a mess. The rules have changed.  We’re waiting for the next Air Permit application, which will be… when???



So what is Tom Micheletti doing in Senator Amy Klobuchar’s office?

Why is Senator Klobuchar entertaining more stories, fiction like “The Virtues of Coal Gasification in Northern Minnesota?”

Enough of Klobuchar and her pandering to fossils and their fuel – time to vote her OUT!


Yes, Tom Micheletti and Excelsior Energy’s Mesaba Project had another rough time at the Public Utilities Commission yesterday.  The PUC was deciding on Excelsior’s Motions for Reconsideration in “Phase II” of the proceedings:

Excelsior’s Motion to Suspend, for Reconsideration etc etc etc

Staff Briefing Papers – 5-28-09

It was fast, the tone seemed to say that the PUC had had enough of it, and wanted to be done.  Deny, deny, deny, the end.

So, now what?  I don’t know, because Charlotte Neigh, of Citizens Against the Mesaba Project, had inquired with Richard Hargis, of the DOE, as to the status of the EIS in the siting docket, scheduled to be released in June (yeah, right, as if…).  He said:

Ms. Neigh,

I don’t think this affects the issuance of the FEIS.

Richard Hargis

Huh… so now what?  Haven’t a clue.  My client, mncalgasplant.com, was an intervenor in this case, beginning nearly five years ago.  Will this thing end some time in my lifetime?  I’m starting to wonder…


WASHINGTON, D.C. — This morning, at “Coffee and Potica” or Minnesota Morning with Senator Amy Klobuchar, who should be there but Tom Micheletti! Yes, Excelsior Energy’s Tom Micheletti was there.  And he was there on the eve of the DEADLINE, the day before the PUC said it would pull the plug on Excelsior Energy’s Mesaba Project.

The legendary Alan Muller, Green Delaware, was in Amy’s office this morning too!  He got there, and “the only other person I knew in the room was Tom Micheletti.”   Too weird.   And here I had to stay home and dogsit.  DAMN!  I could have used the aerobic exercise of duking it out with Tom again.

Sen. Klobuchar’s energy staffer, Charlie Moore, said he wasn’t in on the conversation between Micheletti and Klobuchar’s chief of staff, Alan said they were huddled together for quite a while.  Moore also said that he didn’t know that there was a May 1 deadline.  Oh, really?  Not good.  It’s bad enough that we have to worry about what Micheletti might be saying, but now we’ve also got to be concerned about what he isn’t saying.

And sorry, no photo, yes, I’m MOST disappointed, oh well… but there’s a photo of Sen. Klobuchar with Alan in his Neighbors Against the Burner shirt.

Will it happen?  Will they pull the plug?  They sure better, they’ve been stalling long enough.

Here’s Excelsior Energy’s filings in their attempt to keep the PUC from FINALLY pulling the plug on the Mesaba Project:

Excelsior Energy’s Last Gasp – Motion April 27 2009

So let’s just let this thing die.  Xcel doesn’t want it, the Minnesota municipal utilities don’t want it, the PUC doesn’t want it, and mncoalgasplant.com sure doesn’t want it and neither does Citizens Against the Mesaba Project.


THE MESABA PROJECT IS DEAD, DEAD, DEAD!  Coal gasification is not happening.  IGCC ist zu ende!  How many silver stakes through its slimy heart will it take?

Once more with feeling:


IGCC doesn’t provide any significant environmental benefit!

IGCC is not in the public interest!

This is from Charlotte Neigh, Co-Chair of Citizens Against the Mesaba Project, who, having reviewed the recent spin-doctoring of Excelsior Energy, and their tentacle-reach toward Minnesota Municipal Utilities — they’re trying to make it look like they’ve got something they haven’t got:

It is not correct to say that the federal government would back 73 percent of the total cost, or that the federal government has “pledged” $800 million in loan guarantees, or that municipal utilities would have to raise only 27 percent of the project costs to secure ownership of Unit 1 of the Mesaba Project.

Excelsior Energy has not yet been awarded any loan guarantees. It is one of eleven final applicants to share in a pool of $4 billion. Excelsior admits that its negotiations with DOE will continue throughout 2009. DOE stated in October 2007 that projects relying upon a smaller guarantee percentage will be given greater weight. Despite this statement, Excelsior repeatedly misled the media and even the PUC about the status of the loan guarantees, suggesting that they would cover 80 percent of the project costs.

Apparently Excelsior is now seeking 73 percent but this is a long way from becoming reality. A key requirement for qualifying is to have an assurance of revenues to be generated from sale of the product. This means a long-term commitment from a customer to purchase the energy. This is why the failure to achieve a PPA with Xcel Energy is critical. Other obstacles are DOE requirements for: credit assessment without a loan guarantee; approval of environmental and other permits; reduced greenhouse gases; and relative amount of cash contributed by the principals.

Now Excelsior is trying to entice municipal utilities into purchasing ownership interests by suggesting that 100 percent ownership can be obtained by raising 27 percent of the costs. Municipal utilities should carefully assess the likelihood that this amount or any loan guarantees at all will be awarded for the Mesaba Project before issuing bonds to finance such a purchase.

More information and analysis about the federal loan guarantees can be found by scrolling down to the October 8, 2007 entry on the CAMP website: www.camp-site.info/

Charlotte Neigh, Co-Chair
Citizens Against the Mesaba Project

Here’s an example of the bogus spin, from Business North — note she can’t even get the announcement time-frame right… Excelsior announced Mesaba in December, 2001, that’s EIGHT years ago:

No customer for controversial energy project

Excelsior Energy targets municipal PUCs in search for a buyer as key May 1 deadline looms.

by Beth Bily

About six years ago in the wake of the permanent closing of LTV Steel Mining in Hoyt Lakes, momentum began to develop behind a project concept, one since celebrated and renounced.

That proposed Mesaba Energy project with a price estimated at $2 billion has moved through various phases of public review to a potentially new location further west. Along the way it has become one of the most vigorously debated economic development initiatives proposed for Minnesota’s Iron Range.

Meanwhile, an important deadline looms that could make or break the project. The Minnesota Public Utilities Commission had ordered talks between Mesaba’s parent, Excelsior Energy, and power giant, Twin Cities-based Xcel Energy. The two sides were directed to negotiate a Power Purchase Agreement (PPA) for the approximate 600 megawatts of electricity Mesaba’s proposed Unit One would produce. That ordered negotiation period ends on May 1 and there is no evidence an agreement will be reached.

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