Otter Tail Power will keep coal plant through 2020 | BrainerdDispatch.com | Brainerd, Minnesota

Otter Tail Power will keep coal plant through 2020

Posted: October 5, 2012 - 8:16am

ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) — Otter Tail Power says it plans to keep its Fergus Falls coal-fired plant in operation through 2020.

The Minnesota Public Utilities Commission ordered the utility company to study the cost of retiring the 53-year-old Hoot Lake plant. Otter Tail Power spokesman Brian Draxten tells Minnesota Public Radio News (http://tinyurl.com/8whvl8g ) the company considered closing the plant sooner, but with new mercury emission controls it's more cost effective to keep the plant operational.

Draxten says a 14 to 15 percent rate increase is already expected by mid-decade because of environmental upgrades to another plant. So, postponing building a gas-fired plant to replace the Hoot Lake plant will "smooth out the rate shock that customers will experience."

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Information from: Minnesota Public Radio News, http://www.mpr.org

Copyright 2012 The Associated Press.