Otter Tail building natural gas plant in South Dakota

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Otter Tail building natural gas plant in South Dakota

March 27, 2017

Fergus Falls-based Otter Tail Power said Monday it plans to build a new natural gas-fired generator in eastern South Dakota, which will help make up for the planned closure of a coal-fired power plant in its hometown.

The company will invest about $165 million for the 250-megawatt plant, which will be located near Astoria, S.D., about 175 miles south of Fergus Falls. A megawatt is one million watts, and by that metric, Otter Tail is building a medium-sized plant.

Otter Tail, Minnesota's third largest investor-owned utility, has planned to retire its Hoot Lake coal-fired plant in Fergus Falls by 2021. The Hoot Lake plant has two generators built respectively in 1959 and 1964.

The power generated at Hoot Lake also will be partly replaced by a 150-megawatt wind farm in southeast North Dakota, more than doubling the utility's wind capacity. The $250 million wind farm, announced in November, is Otter Tail's largest ever capital project.

Otter Tail provides electricity to 130,000 customers in Minnesota, North Dakota and South Dakota. It owns significant stakes in two other coal-fired power plants.

Natural gas-fired plants emit half as much greenhouse gases as coal fired plants. Otter Tail's new gas plant will feature a simple-cycle gas combustion turbine.

SOURCE:  Star Tribune

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