The participating utilities announced Friday the withdrawal of Otter Tail Power Company from the Big Stone II Project, a planned 500-to-600-megawatt coal-fired power plant located near Milbank, S.D., and its associated transmission. The remaining participants emphasized that Big Stone II will go forward if sufficient participants can be found to join the project.
Tom Heller, CEO of Missouri River Energy Services, which has the project's largest share, stated that Big Stone II is still the least-cost, environmentally sound baseload power plant for the remaining project participants.
"Big Stone II is a fully permitted project that will provide participants' customers with least-cost generation for decades," he said. "It will improve the emissions profile of the existing Big Stone Plant, and the transmission facilities will be sized to serve the region's burgeoning wind energy development."
While Heller conveyed the project's regret that Otter Tail had to withdraw, he said other potential new participants have expressed interest in joining the project and exploratory discussions are underway.
The current Big Stone II Project participants are Central Minnesota Municipal Power Agency, Heartland Consumers Power District, Missouri River Energy Services and Montana-Dakota Utilities Co.