Weather Forecast


Letter - Big Stone II is needed

To the editor:

All of the permits have been secured for the Big Stone II Power Plant in South Dakota. However, a Certificate of Need process for some associated transmission in Minnesota is ongoing. The process was started at the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission in November of 2005 and will continue into 2009. It's one of the longest PUC cases in their history.

Opponents are trying to kill the South Dakota power plant project through the use of the Minnesota PUC Certificate of Need for transmission process. Their goal is to needlessly delay the project and then try to convince regulators and the public that the cost of building the plant is too expensive.

Opponents are promoting wind as an alternative to the base-load electrical energy from Big Stone II. However, we recognize that a balanced approach to power supply is the responsible approach. Our power suppliers provide us with electricity from various sources including hydro, wind, gas, and coal and they're well on track complying with Minnesota's mandate for renewable energy sources. Coal is a piece of the power supply puzzle. It's necessary for a low cost, reliable source of base-load generation.

For the foreseeable future, generating electricity from coal is less expensive and more reliable than other sources. Electricity costs are borne by the residential and business customers who consume the electricity. This impacts a number of communities in our region including the customers of Alexandria Light and Power. We believe the Big Stone II plant is necessary, along with other sources of energy such as wind.

However, we're concerned that the PUC process is being gamed by opponents and increasing costs to our consumers.

The need is there. The Big Stone II plant and transmission are needed. It is time to be practical. It is time for a decision.

Alexandria Board of

Public Works,

Ed Rooney, president

Kevin Mahoney, vice president

Steve Senden, board member

John Perino, board member

Rick Paulsen, board member

Allen Crowser, secretary