Steam plant celebrates 25 years of 'trash to ash'Northern States Power Co. simply could have mothballed its old 1947 coal-burning plant. Instead, the utility decided to experiment first.
By: Anne Jacobson and Regan Carstensen, The Republican Eagle
Northern States Power Co. simply could have mothballed its old 1947 coal-burning plant. Instead, the utility decided to experiment first.
The successful retrofit into a two-unit facility that burns processed municipal solid waste surprised everyone — even the workers who pulled it off 25 years ago. NSP, parent company Xcel Energy and the community marked the revitalized plant’s anniversary with stories, tours and lunch.
Pam Graika is Xcel Energy’s manager of power generation today. She worked beside plant staff as they cut a boiler in half, assembled conveyor belts, installed magnets and constructed special floors.
“Nobody had ever done anything like it before,” Graika recalled of the renovation.
Over 25 years the plant has burned 5 million tons of garbage and generated 3 million megawatts of power. That equates to filling a football stadium 2 ½ miles high and powering a quarter million residential customers for a year, said Kent Larson, Xcel Energy senior vice president of operations.
“The primary focus has shifted from producing electricity to reducing trash and producing electricity in the process,” he said.
“Twenty-five years of trash to ash. That’s what we’re celebrating,” plant manager Chuck Kinney said.
• The second annual Sheep and Fiber Farm Tour of southeastern Minnesota will be held from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday Oct. 6 and Sunday Oct. 7.
The Ellison Sheep Farm, 15775 Highway 60, Zumbrota, will be among those featured on the tour. Winona, Olmsted and Fillmore counties will also be represented.
Hand spinners’ fleeces, felting bats, rovings, hand painted yarns, handspun yarns and other fiber items will be for sale. Some of the farms will also have demonstrations of felting, spinning and weaving.
• Pam Altendorf of Goodhue was awarded the Spirit of Generosity Award at the annual National Norwex Conference held during August in Minneapolis.
Altendorf was nominated by her peers to receive the award, which is considered Norwex’s most prestigious award. She has been with Norwex since November 2008, and is one of 15,000 Norwex consultants across the United States.
• Kathy Silverthorn of the Red Wing Visitors and Convention Bureau was awarded the Southern Minnesota Tourism Association’s President’s Award for Leadership.
• Sheila Geier of Wanamingo has become an independent consultant with Tastefully Simple Inc., a sales company that features more than 60 easy-to-prepare foods.
As an independent business owner, Geier will offer food samples, meal ideas, recipes and serving suggestions at home taste-testing parties.