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Otter Tail Power’s Hoot Lake Plant to be replaced by natural gas facility

Hoot Lake Plant.jpg
Hoot Lake Plant, a producer of electricity for Otter Tail Power Company, will close near Fergus Falls in 2021. (Photo by Tom Hintgen / Otter Tail County Correspondent)

Hoot Lake Plant, a coal-fired station owned by Otter Tail Power Company just east of Fergus Falls, will close in 2021. The plant is a 1950s-era 140-megawatt station.

Replacing Hoot Lake Plant will be a new 245-megawatt natural gas combustion turbine southeast of Watertown in east central South Dakota. The facility will be known as the Astoria Station.

“Our new Astoria Station will complement our wind resources by providing a valuable backstop when the wind isn’t blowing,” said Otter Tail Power President Tim Rogelstad, a native of Pelican Rapids.

It’s anticipated that most of the 32 employees currently employed at Hoot Lake Plant will continue, if possible, their careers with other jobs within the Otter Tail Power system. Some of the employees are close to retirement.

The company serves western Minnesota, eastern and central North Dakota and northeastern South Dakota.

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The new Astoria Station is a simple-cycle natural gas combustion turbine in east central South Dakota. Only two to three employees will be needed to operate the station, compared to the 32 people required to operate Hoot Lake Plant near Fergus Falls.

Construction of the Astoria Station, along with construction of the 150-megawatt Merricourt Wind Energy Center in southeastern North Dakota, are part of the company’s commitment to low-cost, reliable, and increasingly clean generation resources.

“We’ll continue our balanced approach to serving all of our 132,000 multi-state customers,” says Stephanie Hoff, Otter Tail Power Company’s director of public relations.

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