Mesaba Energy Project, Itasca, MN
This Final Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) provides information about the potential environmental impacts of the proposed Mesaba Energy Project, a coal-based Integrated Gasification Combined Cycle (IGCC) electric power generating facility that would be located in the Taconite Tax Relief Area (TTRA) of northeastern Minnesota. Excelsior Energy Inc. (Excelsior) proposes to design, construct, and operate the Mesaba Energy Project in two phases; each phase would nominally generate 600 megawatts of electricity (MWe) for export to the electrical grid, 1,200 MWe total. DOE’s Proposed Action is to provide a total of $36 million in co-funding, through a cooperative agreement with Excelsior under the Clean Coal Power Initiative (CCPI) Program, for the design and one-year operational demonstration testing period for Phase I. The total cost of Phase I is currently estimated in the cooperative agreement at $2.16 billion. This EIS addresses the impacts of both phases of the Mesaba Energy Project as connected actions, even though only Phase I would be co-funded under the CCPI Program. DOE may also provide a loan guarantee to Excelsior pursuant to the Energy Policy Act of 2005 for Phase I of the proposed project. Approval of the loan guarantee is also considered a major Federal action subject to NEPA review.