June 01, 2016

We Proposed Adding New Wind, Solar, And Natural Gas Resources Over Next Five Years

On June 1 we filed our 2017-2031 Resource Plan with the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission. By June 15 the we'll file the plan with the North Dakota Public Service Commission and South Dakota Public Utilities Commission. “Our resource plan identifies the most cost-effective combination of resources for meeting our customers’ needs for reliable service during the next 15 years,” said Brian Draxten, manager, resource planning, Otter Tail Power Company. “We selected our proposed plan based on reliability, affordability, achievability, and environmental responsibility. We believe this plan is a win-win for our customers and the environment.”

"We believe this plan is a win-win for our customers and the environment.” - Brian Draxten, manager, resource planning

Highlights from Otter Tail Power Company’s resource plan include:

  • Adding 200 megawatts (MW) of wind resources (100 MW in 2018 and 100 MW in 2020) and authorization to add up to 100 MW more at a later time. Today wind resources serve approximately 19 percent of our customers’ energy needs. “With three 100-MW additions, wind would serve approximately 34 percent of our customers’ energy needs,” said Draxten.
  • Adding 30 MW of solar resources by 2020 to comply with Minnesota’s Solar Energy Standard. “With the exception of solar, our proposed resource plan would be the lowest cost for our customers,” said Draxten. “But we think the price of solar will continue to decline and, if it does, it could be part of a least-cost plan scenario.”
  • Adding a 248-MW simple-cycle natural gas plant in 2021. “We cannot publicly disclose our preferred natural gas plant site at this time, but we’ll locate it in close proximity to a high-voltage transmission line and a large natural gas pipeline within our service area,” said Draxten. The company plans to formally announce the site and begin permitting
    this fall.

We meet Minnesota’s current greenhouse gas reduction goals. “After the wind, solar, and natural gas additions and other planned changes, we’ll continue to meet these goals as they increase through 2025,” said Draxten.

Importance of stakeholder engagement

Stakeholder engagement was an important step in our planning process because our service area stretches across three states, Minnesota, North Dakota, and South Dakota. “The states we serve have differing regulatory policies and philosophies,” said Draxten. “It was important to us to meet with regulators and organizations in all three states to gain perspective. These meetings were helpful to all parties and have led to a solid resource plan that balances needs and resources.”

For more information visit otpco.com/ResourcePlan.