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Monday, November 2, 2009

Big Stone II Fails! Backers Back Out!

You read it here first, but the Big Stone II backers make it official today: the Big Stone II coal-fired electric plant is dead, dead, dead. Heartland and the remaining backers have finally come to their senses and acknowledged the market realities that Otter Tail saw two months ago. The future is not coal. It is wind, solar, other alternatives, and conservation.

The plant backers go out with an amusing whimper, calling this move a "wind-down" of the project. Wind-down—that's today's euphemism for cancellation, collapse, and quitting. They can't go down without griping, either: their release whines that the failed project was "a fully permitted project" and "had been determined to be the least-cost, environmentally sound baseload power plant for the project participants."

Funny: if this project really was such a financially attractive option, then why on earth did all those smart businesspeople at the utilities bail out? The Otter Tail CEO and all those other business folks are smarter than I am when it comes to making a buck. What on earth were they thinking? Might they realize that wind really is a better investment than another unsustainable fossil fuel plant?

Come on, guys, give up the denial. Just admit Big Stone II was a bad idea. Admit you were wrong, and move on. Trust me, you'll feel better.

According to the press release, Russ Olson is standing by at Heartland to take your questions. Give him a call, offer your condolences... and tell him to tell the boss to get over it and build more windmills!

Update 2009.11.03 11:25 CST: While Dakota War College frets that the death of BSII will stifle wind power, Western Area Power Administration is working on 200-megawatts' worth of wind power deals with wind farms here on the Plains.

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