DULUTH – Superior city councilors on Tuesday signaled their support for a proposed natural gas plant before state regulators come to town for public hearings later this month.
On Tuesday, councilors unanimously approved a resolution that states the city “fully supports the Nemadji Trail Energy Center,” the largest private investment in the city’s history.
Duluth-based Minnesota Power and Wisconsin’s Dairyland Power Cooperative are splitting the cost and ownership of the $700 million project, which would generate more than 525 megawatts of electricity.
The city’s amended resolution said it will support 260 jobs during construction and 25 positions at the plant while it is operational; it also says Superior and Douglas County would share in more than $1 million in revenue and fees from the plant. An earlier version of the document misstated the number of jobs and the amount of shared revenue.
Environmental groups have blasted the proposal for adding new fossil fuel infrastructure in the face of climate change. Minnesota Power says it needs an on-demand source of energy when solar and wind are unavailable.
The Wisconsin Public Service Commission is holding public hearings in Superior later this month as it weighs a “Certificate of Public Convenience and Necessity” for the project, one of several approvals needed from various agencies.
The public is invited to offer comment at the Belgian Club, 3931 E. Second St., starting at 6 p.m. on Oct. 28 and 2 p.m. on Oct. 29.
The final day to submit written comments to the Public Service Commission is Oct. 29.
Last year the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission narrowly approved Minnesota Power’s stake in the project over an administrative judge’s finding that the utility did not show a need for the power; the PUC’s approval has been appealed.