In 2003, a law was enacted giving regulatory advantage to what the statutes referred to an an "innovative energy project." The project was commonly known as the "Mesabi" project or the "Excelsior Energy" project. The innovative energy project was defined, in part, as an integrated gasification combined cycle coal-fired electric generating plant located on a site on the Iron Range. That project is not on schedule.
Section 1 grants some of the same regulatory advantages given to the innovative energy project to a gas-fired electric generating plant located on one of the sites approved for the innovative energy project. Those advantages include exemption from the certificate of need requirement for the generation plant and related transmission facilities, expansion of transmission facilities without state approval, and the power of eminent domain for the purpose of site and route acquisition for approved sites and routes.
Certain regulatory approvals related to the innovative energy project are made valid for use by the gas plant. Air, water, and other permits issued for the innovative energy project shall not be subject to a contested case hearing, notwithstanding certain state rules.