Court decision delivers major setback for Minnesota Power’s carbon-neutrality goals

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Today, the Minnesota Supreme Court issued a ruling in the Nemadji Trail Energy Center (NTEC) lawsuit that allows the proposed fossil gas power plant to receive Public Utilities Commission (PUC) approval without environmental review in Minnesota. This ruling allows Minnesota Power to continue pursuing its proposal to build the 600-megawatt NTEC fossil gas power plant.

The plant would be constructed in Superior, Wisconsin, and is a joint venture between Minnesota Power in Minnesota and Dairyland Power in Wisconsin and would amount to a $350M investment by Minnesota Power.

Fresh Energy has been actively challenging Minnesota Power’s plans for this plant since 2017 and in July of 2020 filed an amicus brief with the Supreme Court supporting our clean energy partners lawsuit and urging the Court to uphold the Court of Appeals’ 2019 decision to send the case back to the Public Utilities Commission for environmental review. Unfortunately, with today’s court ruling a Minnesota environmental review is no longer on the table.  

However, Fresh Energy and partners will continue to advocate for carbon-free alternatives to Minnesota Power’s plans for new fossil gas investment, including through the utility’s Integrated Resource Planning process at the Public Utilities Commission.

At a time when fossil fuel use is only becoming more risky and renewable energy from wind and solar is a least-cost option, putting Minnesota Power’s rate payers on the line to pay for new fossil fuel infrastructure needs thorough evaluation and analysis to determine long-term economic and environmental ramifications.