Big Stone II Resolution
In another move to help halt global climate change, the Council unanimously passed a Sierra Club-sponsored resolution voicing the city's strong opposition to the proposed Big Stone II coal-fired power plant. You can view the resolution here, near the end of the agenda. Co-authors included myself and Council Members Benson, Glidden, Hodges, Hofstede, Lilligren, Remington and Schiff.
Big Stone II is an expansion of an existing 450 Megawatt (MW) powerplant in South Dakota, which would add 600 MW in new dirty coal capacity.
The carbon dioxide this plant will dump into the atmosphere is greater than all of the aggressive Minneapolis emissions-reduction plans. Even if we're able to reduce our carbon emissions by 20% by 2020 (as we've committed to do in the Sustainability Indicators), we will be offset by this plant.
Worse, the plume of mercury and particulate-laden smoke will regularly come our way.
Most tragic of all, this dinosaur-era project is an incredible waste of ratepayers' money. Conservative estimates of the price of new windpower facilities make clear that the $1.8 Billion slated to be spent on Big Stone II could fund over 1200 MW of new wind, or more than twice what Big Stone will generate.
I'm glad the Council has followed Sierra Club's good advice and added our voice to the many people asking the Minnesota Public Utility Commission to rule that we shouldn't allow transmission lines through western Minnesota to carry the electricity from this ill-advised plant our way.
Let's hope it makes some sort of difference.