Boswell Energy Center

From Global Energy Monitor

Clay Boswell Energy Center is a 922.5-megawatt (MW) coal-fired power station operated by Minnesota Power a subsidiary of ALLETE near Cohasset, Minnesota.


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Plant Data

  • Owner: Minnesota Power Unit 3: 100% and Unit 4: 80% [1], WPPI Energy Unit 4: 20%[2]
  • Parent Company: ALLETE
  • Plant Nameplate Capacity: 1,072.5 MW (Megawatts)
  • Units and In-Service Dates: Unit 1: 75.0 MW (1958), Unit 2: 75.0 MW (1960), Unit 3: 364.5 MW (1973), Unit 4: 558.0 MW (1980)
  • Location: 1210 NW 3rd St., Cohasset, MN 55721
  • GPS Coordinates: 47.260705, -93.653845
  • Technology: Subcritical
  • Coal type: Sub-bituminous
  • Coal Consumption:
  • Coal Source: Antelope Coal Mine (Navajo Nation), Spring Creek Mine (Navajo Nation), North Antelope Rochelle Mine (Peaboy Energy), Black Thunder Mine (Arch Coal)[3]
  • Number of Employees:
  • Unit Retirements: Unit 1 & 2 were retired in December 2018

Unit Retirements

In October 2016, Minnesota Power announced it will close Unit 1 & 2 at Boswell Energy Center by 2018. The units were built in 1958 and 1960.[4]

Units 1 & 2 were retired in December 2018.[5]

Emissions Data

  • 2006 CO2 Emissions: 8,107,209 tons
  • 2006 SO2 Emissions: 20,407 tons
  • 2006 SO2 Emissions per MWh:
  • 2006 NOx Emissions: 13,603 tons
  • 2005 Mercury Emissions: 279 lb.

Death and disease attributable to fine particle pollution from Boswell Energy Center

In 2010, Abt Associates issued a study commissioned by the Clean Air Task Force, a nonprofit research and advocacy organization, quantifying the deaths and other health effects attributable to fine particle pollution from coal-fired power plants.[6] Fine particle pollution consists of a complex mixture of soot, heavy metals, sulfur dioxide, and nitrogen oxides. Among these particles, the most dangerous are those less than 2.5 microns in diameter, which are so tiny that they can evade the lung's natural defenses, enter the bloodstream, and be transported to vital organs. Impacts are especially severe among the elderly, children, and those with respiratory disease. The study found that over 13,000 deaths and tens of thousands of cases of chronic bronchitis, acute bronchitis, asthma, congestive heart failure, acute myocardial infarction, dysrhythmia, ischemic heart disease, chronic lung disease, and pneumonia each year are attributable to fine particle pollution from U.S. coal plant emissions. These deaths and illnesses are major examples of coal's external costs, i.e. uncompensated harms inflicted upon the public at large. Low-income and minority populations are disproportionately impacted as well, due to the tendency of companies to avoid locating power plants upwind of affluent communities. To monetize the health impact of fine particle pollution from each coal plant, Abt assigned a value of $7,300,000 to each 2010 mortality, based on a range of government and private studies. Valuations of illnesses ranged from $52 for an asthma episode to $440,000 for a case of chronic bronchitis.[7]

Table 1: Death and disease attributable to fine particle pollution from Boswell Energy Center

Type of Impact Annual Incidence Valuation
Deaths 55 $400,000,000
Heart attacks 87 $9,500,000
Asthma attacks 910 $47,000
Hospital admissions 40 $930,000
Chronic bronchitis 34 $15,000,000
Asthma ER visits 56 $20,000

Source: "Find Your Risk from Power Plant Pollution," Clean Air Task Force interactive table, accessed February 2011

Coal Waste Sites

Boswell ranked 18th on list of most polluting power plants in terms of coal waste

In January 2009, Sue Sturgis of the Institute of Southern Studies compiled a list of the 100 most polluting coal plants in the United States in terms of coal combustion waste (CCW) stored in surface impoundments like the one involved in the TVA Kingston Fossil Plant coal ash spill.[8] The data came from the EPA's Toxics Release Inventory (TRI) for 2006, the most recent year available.[9]

Boswell Energy Center ranked number 18 on the list, with 2,009,628 pounds of coal combustion waste released to surface impoundments in 2006.[8]

Articles and Resources


  1. "SEC 10-K 2018", accessed may, 2020.
  2. "WPPI 2019 Financial Statement", Page 27, accessed May, 2020.
  3. "EIA 923 July 2020" EIA 923 July 2020.
  4. Dan Kraker, "Minnesota Power to shut down two coal generators early," MPR News, Oct 19, 2016
  5. "165 FERC ¶ 61,278," FERC, Dec 31, 2018
  6. "The Toll from Coal: An Updated Assessment of Death and Disease from America's Dirtiest Energy Source," Clean Air Task Force, September 2010.
  7. "Technical Support Document for the Powerplant Impact Estimator Software Tool," Prepared for the Clean Air Task Force by Abt Associates, July 2010
  8. 8.0 8.1 Sue Sturgis, "Coal's ticking timebomb: Could disaster strike a coal ash dump near you?," Institute for Southern Studies, January 4, 2009.
  9. TRI Explorer, EPA, accessed January 2009.

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