The Nemadji Trail Energy Center, a natural gas-fired power plant proposed to be built by Dairyland Power Cooperative and ALLETE’s Minnesota Power in Wisconsin, US, has secured approval from the Public Service Commission of Wisconsin (PSCW).

The combined cycle natural gas plant, which will have a capacity of 525-625MW, is proposed to be built in Superior.

Dairyland Power said that the PSCW commissioners gave a verbal approval to the issuance of a Certificate of Public Convenience and Necessity (CPCN) for the Nemadji Trail power plant.

The approval now enables the project partners to proceed with their plans to develop the gas-fired power plant with a capacity of up to 625MW.

The proposal to build the Nemadji Trail Energy Center was made in June 2017. Construction on the power plant continues to be subject to regulatory approvals and permits from the City of Superior, the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (WDNR), and also the US Army Corps of Engineers.

Dairyland Power external and member relations vice president Rob Palmberg said: “Because of its ability to provide reliable back-up to intermittent sources of power, Nemadji Trail is a critical part of our resource diversification strategy.

“As Dairyland continues to embrace solar and wind generation, Nemadji Trail’s ability to respond on demand will provide key support for our cooperative’s evolving energy future.”

Nemadji Trail Energy Center scheduled to begin operations by 2025

Slated to begin operations by 2025, the Nemadji Trail Energy Center is planned to be built at a shovel-ready industrial site, located near the service territories of Dairyland Power and also Minnesota Power.

The proposed power plant in Superior would need nearly 6.4km long 345kV transmission line and an associated substation apart from a roughly 11km long natural gas pipeline.

The Nemadji Trail Energy Center has been opposed by Sierra Club, Red Cliff Band of Lake Superior Chippewa Indians, and other groups on the potential impact it would have on the environment and other aspects. The gas-fired power plant is estimated to cost $700m to customers, said Sierra Club.

Sierra Club campaign representative Matt Earley said: “Building a new fracked gas plant would be an environmental and economic disaster that would leave communities saddled with climate-disrupting emissions and a bad investment, both of which we’ll be paying for decades.”