Hoot Lake Plant is an important resource [UPDATED]Published 9:25am Thursday, January 3, 2013 Updated 11:27am Thursday, January 3, 2013
As a good neighbor in this community, and in response to Wade Underwood’s Dec. 23, 2012, letter to The Journal about Hoot Lake Plant, we want your readers to know the following:
• Hoot Lake Plant meets all EPA and state emissions requirements, and our employees pride themselves on maintaining the plant and its structures.
• Hoot Lake Plant produces approximately 20 percent of Otter Tail Power Company’s electricity at lower cost and higher availability than the industry average.
• Otter Tail Power Company already is investing in Wind energy — more than $300 million since 2007. Our company is fourth in the nation according to the U.S. Department of Energy’s 2009 Wind Technologies Market Report, the most recent that ranked companies’ wind generation as a percentage of retail sales.
• Otter Tail Power Company also is a leader in energy conservation. Since 1992, we’ve helped our customers conserve roughly the equivalent amount of electricity that 189,000 average homes would use in a year. That represents 186 percent of the annual energy sales of our entire residential customer base.
In February, the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission ordered Otter Tail Power Company to complete a baseload diversification study to evaluate retirement and repower options for Hoot Lake Plant.
Our modeling results led us to recommend to the MPUC that Hoot Lake Plant install up to $10 million in additional emissions control equipment to comply with pending EPA regulations and continue as a coal plant.
In November, the Minnesota Department of
Commerce verified our recommendation as the least-cost plan and also recommended to the MPUC that the plant continue operating until 2020.
This would allow for reasonable planning for replacement power, protect our customers from stacked rate increases at a time we are expecting increases from another pollution control upgrade already underway at another plant, and save more than 40 jobs in Fergus Falls.
We expect the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission to make a decision on our recommendation in early 2013.
Brian Draxten Manager,
Otter Power Company