EPA to review permit for 500 MW coal-fired plant

23 January 2009 – The Environmental Protection Agency placed a hold on approval of Otter Tail Power’s proposed 500 MW Big Stone II coal-fired power plant in South Dakota. The move came on the last day for review of the plant’s application.

The EPA said in a letter to the South Dakota Department of Environment and Natural Resources yesterday that the state didn’t meet requirements under the Clean Air Act in part of its proposed permit for the plant. The state has 90 days to respond to the agency’s objections.

The Minnesota Public Utilities Commission unanimously approved the Big Stone II transmission certificate of need January 15. It set a recoverable construction cost cap of $3,000 a kW. It also directed Otter Tail to investigate the feasibility of using ultra-super-critical technology for the plant, which would add another 2 percent efficiency gain.