Minnesota Power: Wisconsin regulators approve approximately $700m gas plant

Minnesota Power spokesperson Amy Rutledge on Jan. 17 told TransmissionHub that the commission gave its verbal approval to the project on a vote of 2-1

ALLETE’s Minnesota Power on Jan. 16 said that the Public Service Commission of Wisconsin has approved a 525-MW to 625-MW combined-cycle, natural gas power plant — the Nemadji Trail Energy Center (NTEC) — to be built in Superior by the company and Dairyland Power Cooperative.

Minnesota Power spokesperson Amy Rutledge on Jan. 17 told TransmissionHub that the commission gave its verbal approval to the project on a vote of 2-1 (Docket ID: 9698-CE-100).

The commission’s written order was not immediately available on the commission’s website on Jan. 17.

The project must still obtain approval for necessary permits from the City of Superior, the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Minnesota Power said.

The company noted that it will take 50% of the plant’s capacity to serve its customers and that Dairyland Power will take the other half. The Minnesota Public Utilities Commission approved the project in October 2018, Minnesota Power said, adding that a Minnesota Court of Appeals decision recently directed the Minnesota commission to review its decision to include an analysis of whether an environmental assessment worksheet is required for the project. Minnesota Power said that it plans to ask the Minnesota Supreme Court to review the decision.

The company said that the NTEC project partners selected the Superior site after a Midwest-wide search, and expect the overall cost of the plant to be about $700m.

Among other things, Minnesota Power said that it is rapidly expanding its renewable energy supply, adding 250 MW of wind power this year through a power purchase agreement with Tenaska, which is building the 250-MW Nobles 2 wind farm in southwestern Minnesota to supply the electricity. Completion of the Great Northern Transmission Line to the Canadian border, expected this spring, will enable Minnesota Power to deliver up to 383 MW of hydropower from Manitoba Hydro, Minnesota Power said.