Wind energy requested for Big Stone II plant: Citizens ask that permit include option for OTP facility
If it’s going to be approved, the people want it to include wind.
During a public hearing Thursday on the conditional use permit for the Big Stone II transmission line project, a number of citizens expressed a desire to see at least some wind energy included as a requirement for the permit.
The Big Stone II project would include a 600-megawatt coal burning plant added to an existing site near the Minnesota border in South Dakota. The proposal also includes a transmission line upgrade between Canby and Granite Falls.
According to the public notice for the hearing, the Big Stone II partners “are proposing to construct two new high voltage transmission lines in Western Minnesota.”
There are two alternatives proposed by the Big Stone II partners, but both would see an upgrade on the line between Canby and Granite Falls.
The public hearings are being held by the Minnesota Department of Commerce, and the hearings are being presided over by administrative law judges Steve Mihalchick and Barbara Neilson.
Bill Grant of the Izaak Walton League spoke on behalf of an environmental coalition composed of groups opposed to the Big Stone II project.
Grant said with the increased awareness of global warming problems, it wouldn’t make sense to build a new plant that would add carbon dioxide into the environment.
Grant also cited three other reasons he believed the project shouldn’t be permitted.
According to Grant, the new plant would see an increase in energy costs to the consumer, while other alternatives could mean lower costs.
Grant said new federal laws are inevitable that would penalize energy producers who add to global warming.
Lewis Nelson of Canby said he supported Otter Tail Power and wasn’t opposed to the Big Stone II proposal.
He did express concern that the new plant would cause an increase in costs to the consumer.
Nelson also said he would like to see wind energy included on the project.
“I support wind power,” said Nelson. “I hope we can find a way to include that (on the Big Stone II transmission lines).”
Yellow Medicine County Commissioner Ron Antony said he couldn’t support the project without the inclusion of wind energy.
The final two public hearings are planned Monday in St. Paul.
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