- The North Dakota Public Service Commission last week approved a settlement allowing Otter Tail Power to move forward with development of a 250 MW gas plant and a 150 MW wind farm, to replace Minnesota's coal-fired Hoot Lake plant.
- Astoria Station would be an efficient simple-cycle gas combustion turbine that would be used to meet peak demand. Otter Tail has estimated the project will cost approximately $165 million and will take just over a year to complete.
- The commission also indicated it would approve the Merricourt wind project, but delayed a vote on the project's siting application in order to review newly-submitted data.
The Astoria and Merricourt projects are meant to complement one another. Merricourt is being constructed by EDF Renewable Energy, which will turn the facility over to Otter Tail once it is completed, likely in 2019. The project will be located on approximately 13,700 acres south of Edgeley, N.D., in McIntosh and Dickey counties, and will consist of 75 Vestas 2MW wind turbines. The turbines are expected to be manufactured in Vestas’ Colorado-based facilities.
Merricourt will cost about $250 million to develop. The Astoria plant aims to generate power for Otter Tail when the wind is not blowing. The gas plant will be located northwest of Astoria, S.D., at the intersection of the Northern Border Pipeline and the Big Stone South-to-Brookings County 345-kilovolt electric transmission line.
The Hoot Lake coal plant in Fergus Falls, Minn., which Otter Trail is working to replace, has been producing energy from a pair of units for more than 50 years. It produces about 140 MW.
Otter Trail uses its resource mix to serve more than 130,000 customers in Minnesota, North Dakota and South Dakota.