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New Dairyland plant gets green light from Minnesota



A power plant project announced a year ago by Dairyland Power of La Crosse has gotten a green light this week from the state of Minnesota.

The Public Utilities Commission voted 3-2 early this week to approve Minnesota Power’s request to build and operate the Nemadji Trail Energy Center.

Wisconsin still has to weigh in on the $700 million project. It would be built in Superior by Dairyland and Minnesota Power, as an alternative to coal-fired electric plants.

The commission approved the plant this week, even though critics claim it isn’t needed and could raise electric rates.

Along with passing the cost to about 145,000 customers in northeastern Minnesota, it would also be passed to rural and municipal utilities in Dairyland’s four-state territory.

“It’s the first combined-cycle facility that would be on the Daiyrland system of this time,” Dairyland spokesperson Deb Mirasola said. “It would be agile and able to support our renewable facilities.”

Mirasola isn’t predicting whether Wisconsin regulators will also approve the plant, which could be operated with gas, as a backup to solar and wind power.

A native of Prairie du Chien, Brad graduated from UW - La Crosse and has worked in radio news for more than 30 years, mostly in the La Crosse area. He regularly covers local courts and city and county government. Brad produces the features "Yesterday in La Crosse" and "What's Buried on Brad's Desk." He also writes the website "Triviazoids," which finds odd connections between events that happen on a certain date, and he writes and performs with the local comedy group Heart of La Crosse. Brad been featured on several national TV programs because of his memory skills.

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