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Diversification needed in energy mix

September 10, 2011
Marshall Independent

To the editor:

Otter Tail Power is currently asking Minnesota regulators to approve a $500 million investment to clean up the aging Big Stone 1 power plant. That's a big price tag to clean up a 35-year-old power plant and could end up significantly raising rates for Otter Tail customers.

The decision to add new environmental controls to existing old coal plants needs to be carefully evaluated against other, less expensive alternatives.

Before approving commitments to spend half a billion dollars on a power plant that will be nearly four decades old when the new controls are installed, Minnesota's regulators need to take a careful look at cleaner, cheaper options like underutilized natural gas-fired capacity, expanded portfolios of energy efficiency and renewable resources.

Instead of locking into decades of more coal-fired power, we need to diversify our energy mix and expand investments in existing clean energy technologies that can provide power without the harmful effects of coal.

Duane Ninneman

Clean up the River Environment



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