$700M Natural Gas Facility Planned For Superior

Dairyland Power and Minnesota Power Expand Renewable Energy Sources


Dairyland Power Cooperative and Minnesota Power announced plans Wednesday to build a $700 million natural gas facility in northern Wisconsin.

The facility would be built along the Nemadji River in Superior and produce up to 550 megawatts of power.

Deb Mirasola, director of communications and marketing for Dairyland Power, said the project is part of plans by both companies to diversify energy sources.

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“As we all know, the wind doesn’t blow all the time and the sun doesn’t shine all the time,” she said. “This power plant will provide a responsive, flexible and agile energy source to enable renewable energy resources, such as wind and solar.”

Mirasola said the facility would supply power when they aren’t able to draw from renewable energy sources. She said the project builds on investments the cooperative has made in renewable energy with 15 solar projects across its service area. Superior Mayor Jim Paine said the project represents the single largest private investment for the city in recent history.

“This is going to be one of the biggest projects we’ve ever seen,” he said. “It’s definitely exciting for our economy in terms of not just that we’re maintaining and growing the industry we have, but we’re adding a new major energy project right here in our community.”

Julie Pierce, vice president of strategy and planning for Minnesota Power, said the natural gas facility is part of the company’s plan to provide 44 percent of its power from renewable sources by 2025. She also noted the partnership between the two allowed them to pool resources to invest in state-of-the-art equipment that provides natural gas at a more affordable, efficient rate.

“It produces more energy for every bit of fuel that’s used. It’s really efficient,” she said. “A smaller natural gas facility wouldn’t do that as efficiently and it would be higher cost.”

The project has to go through the permitting process with the Public Service Commission in Wisconsin and the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission. Dairyland Power serves around 600,000 customers in Wisconsin, Minnesota, Iowa and Illinois. Minnesota Power has about 145,000 residential and commercial customers, serving about 16 municipalities and a dozen industrial customers in northeastern Minnesota.

Superior’s mayor said the project would provide around $1.2 million in direct revenues for Douglas County and Superior, about $800,000 of which would go toward the city each year. The project will create around 260 construction jobs and about 25 full-time positions. The plant is expected to be in service by 2024.