High Bridge power station

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High Bridge power station was a coal-fired power station owned and operated by Xcel Energy in St. Paul, Minnesota.


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Plant Data

  • Owner: Northern States Power Company
  • Parent Company: Xcel Energy
  • Plant Nameplate Capacity: 277 MW (Megawatts)
  • Units and In-Service Dates: 114 MW (1956), 163 MW (1959)
  • Location: 501 Shepherd Rd., St. Paul, MN 55102
  • GPS Coordinates: 44.931457, -93.111389
  • Coal Consumption:
  • Coal Source:
  • Number of Employees:
  • Unit Retirements:


In September 2003, Xcel Energy announced plans to convert the Riverside plant and the High Bridge power station to natural gas. The move came in response to an emissions reduction bill passed in 2001 by the Minnesota Legislature, allowing any utility company in the state to convert its coal plants to natural gas and then recover the costs of conversion through rate increases.[1] The facilities were part of a $1 billion upgrade of Xcel power plants in Minnesota. The new 570 MW High Bridge Plant went online in May 2008 and the new 511 MW Riverside Plant in April 2009.[2][3]

Emissions Data

  • 2006 CO2 Emissions: 1,119,674 tons
  • 2006 SO2 Emissions:
  • 2006 SO2 Emissions per MWh:
  • 2006 NOx Emissions:
  • 2005 Mercury Emissions:

Death and disease attributable to fine particle pollution from High Bridge power station

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.[4] 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.[5]

Table 1: Death and disease attributable to fine particle pollution from High Bridge power station

Type of Impact Annual Incidence Valuation
Deaths 5 $39,000,000
Heart attacks 9 $950,000
Asthma attacks 93 $5,000
Hospital admissions 4 $93,000
Chronic bronchitis 3 $1,500,000
Asthma ER visits 6 $2,000

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

Articles and Resources


  1. "Xcel plans to convert to cleaner fuel," Minnnesota Public Radio, September 2003.
  2. "High Bridge Plant," Xcel Energy, accessed July 2009.
  3. Riverside Plant, Xcel Energy, accessed July 2009.
  4. "The Toll from Coal: An Updated Assessment of Death and Disease from America's Dirtiest Energy Source," Clean Air Task Force, September 2010.
  5. "Technical Support Document for the Powerplant Impact Estimator Software Tool," Prepared for the Clean Air Task Force by Abt Associates, July 2010

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