Hoot Lake Plant

On May 27, 2021, we retired Hoot Lake Plant, marking the end of 100 years of coal-fired energy generation at the site. The plant, a 140-megawatt (MW) coal-fired generating facility in Fergus Falls, Minnesota, played a vital role in our history of generating safe, reliable, affordable energy. We reflect on and celebrate its contributions to our company, communities, and customers.

Celebrating Hoot Lake Plant

We're planning for a commemoration in July.

While COVID-19 and other safety precautions prevent in-person tours of the plant, we invite you to virtually tour it anytime.

Launch virtual tour

We're also working to collect and document memories, photos, and mementos from Hoot Lake Plant's era.

Share your story

The plant's legacy

We started generating electricity for customers at Dayton Hollow Dam on the Otter Tail River in 1909 and finished construction on the Hoot Lake hydroelectric plant in 1914.

We increased generating capacity as our number of customers grew, building 1,500-kilowatt steam generating units at the Hoot Lake site in 1921 and 1923. In 1948 we replaced those with Unit 1, which retired in 2006. We commissioned Hoot Lake Plant’s current coal-fired operational units (Units 2 and 3) in 1959 and 1964, increasing the plant’s generation capacity from 5 MW to 145 MW.

Hoot Lake Plant 1957 groundbreaking ceremony

Fergus Falls Mayor Vernon Sprague speaks at the plant’s 1957 groundbreaking ceremony.

Hoot Lake Plant

Hoot Lake Plant today.

Hoot Lake Plant

Hoot Lake Plant today.

Powering the future

Merricourt Wind Energy Center and Astoria Station are part of our plan to meet customers’ energy needs following Hoot Lake Plant’s retirement.

We’re also planning to construct a solar facility near the former plant site. Hoot Lake Solar is a unique opportunity to be resourceful by wisely using our existing Hoot Lake property and substation after the plant’s retirement. The substation will connect electricity produced by Hoot Lake Solar to the energy grid for our customers.

We project that by 2023 our customers will receive approximately 35% of their energy from renewable resources. And by 2025 collective carbon emissions from generation resources we own will be approximately 50% below 2005 levels—all while keeping residential rates among the lowest in the nation.