Otter Tail Power Will Build 50 Megawatts of Solar, But Its Electricity Will Come from Coal and Gas in the Dakotas

Otter Tail Power Company (OTP), the smallest electric utility in the state of Minnesota, will build 50 megawatts of solar near their soon-to-be retired Hoot Lake coal facility. The Fergus Falls Journal reports the facility will include around 170,000 solar panels and generate enough electricity to power about 10,000 homes each year, but by my calculations, based on federal data on electricity usage and factoring in Minnesota’s unproductive solar panels, the number would be closer to 6,750 OTP customers.

Either way, it doesn’t really matter, because the vast majority of OTP’s power will be shipped in from coal and natural gas power plants in North Dakota and South Dakota because those states have not outlawed reliable, affordable energy sources like we have here in Minnesota.

The solar installation would account for about 3 percent of OTP’s 2018 electricity sales, according to federal data from the Energy Information Administration, leaving 97 percent unaccounted for. Some of this comes from North Dakotan wind facilities, (great local Minnesota jobs, eh Governor Walz?) but most of it comes from the coal-fired Coyote Station in North Dakota, the Big Stone coal facility in South Dakota and new natural gas plants that are popping up weirdly close to the Minnesota border with South Dakota.

According to OTP’s website, the 140 MW Hoot Lake coal plant will be retired next year. Renewable advocates are pretending that it will be replaced with new wind facilities, and the proposed 50 MW solar facility. In the real world, the coal plant will be replaced with a new, 245 MW natural gas power plant in Astoria, South Dakota, just a stone’s throw away from the Minnesota border.

I’ll bet a month’s salary we see this trend continue with other electricity providers in the future.

It’s almost as if the political climate of Minnesota is pushing the development of new reliable power sources, which unlike wind and solar, will actually work during a Polar Vortex, out of state, while Minnesota pretends to be getting greener. This is basically what California has been doing for years, and that hasn’t gone too well for them lately.

Liberal politicians who call for laws requiring more wind and solar because they believe climate change is an “existential crisis” are mandating an electricity crisis while doing nothing to actually address emissions. Wind and solar are simply too unreliable to power our society, and battery storage is impossibly expensive. The same people who pretend to “follow the science,” don’t seem to even understand that physics is a science. In fact, physics is the basic building block of all sciences.

When it comes to reducing emissions, only nuclear and hydroelectric power can provide carbon dioxide free electricity at any hour of the day, on demand, but the same people who think that climate change will *literally* kill every human on Earth refuse to allow these technologies to be built in Minnesota, or counted toward their so-called “clean energy” mandates. For this reason, it’s impossible to take any of their hand wringing about climate seriously.