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Excelsior Energy redraws power plant proposal

DULUTH -- Developers of new power plant on the Iron Range are optimistic about the project's future, despite the U.S. Department of Energy's decision to withdraw financial support.

The plant has been in the planning stages for years. Excelsior Energy initially proposed a $2 billion plant that would be built next to Itasca County's Canisteo mine pit. It would convert coal into a gasified fuel and burn it as a highly efficient way to generate power.

Excelsior Energy's plans have recently changed. It's now proposing a 600-megawatt plant -- about half the size first proposed -- running on natural gas rather than coal.

The Duluth News Tribune says the Department of Energy has invested about $22 million in the project, but has ended its support.