The Chisago natural gas plant, dubbed “Sunrise River Energy,” finally made the news in Minnesota.   Could it be any larger?  “What do we need this for,” you may ask.  It’s simple, we DON’T, it’s for export.  Note their threat to move to Wisconsin if they don’t get what they want, and Rep. Kalin and Sen. Olseen buy into that and cave, giving them an exemption without letting the local governments who would lose tax revenue a heads up about it.   Here’s the whole thing from the STrib — sorry it took so long to post this, I’ve been on the road and mired in moving stuff:

855-megawatt power plant planned

A bill now before Gov. Tim Pawlenty would provide tax breaks for the $300 million gas-fired plant in Chisago County.

By MATT McKINNEY, Star Tribune

Last update: May 13, 2009 – 9:30 PM

One of the largest power plants in the state would rise in the township of Lent in Chisago County via a bill that on Wednesday went before Gov. Tim Pawlenty for his signature.

The $300 million Sunrise River Energy station, an 855-megawatt natural gas-fired plant, would open by 2013 pending regulatory approvals, according to the company that would build it, LS Power, a private utility with offices in New Jersey and Missouri.

The plant won a tax exemption from both houses of the Legislature this week, a hurdle the company deemed necessary for construction. The exemption would reduce taxes from about $9 million to slightly less than $1 million. Other power plants in the state enjoy similar tax breaks.

A call to Pawlenty’s office seeking comment Wednesday afternoon was not returned.

It’s hard to imagine him objecting, though. State Rep. Jeremy Kalin, DFL-North Branch, said the plant would bring needed jobs and tax revenue to one of the poorest counties in the state.

“I’ve had mixed feelings about the bill,” Kalin said. He explained that he would have preferred to wait another year before debating the tax exemption, but company officials told him that any delays would prompt a move to Wisconsin.

Kalin said the pending bill would waive about $8 million in personal property taxes on the machines and turbines inside the facility. The company must still pay property taxes of about $915,000 a year, however. Some 20 plants have won the same exemption since 1994, according to Kalin, whose North Branch house is about a mile from the proposed power plant site. A “host fee agreement” would add another $600,000 to the company’s annual tax bill, money that would be divided among Lent Township, Chisago County and the North Branch school district.

LS Power was drawn to the site because of what it offers: the state’s largest substation, two large transmission lines and two 24-inch natural gas pipelines.

“From an engineering perspective, this site is a very, very attractive site,” Kalin said.

The plant would draw more than 3 million gallons of water a day for operations, using about 2 million gallons a day from the aquifer and 1.1 million gallons from a county sewage treatment plant three miles away. The sewage treatment water would return to the plant. Water drawn from the aquifer would be spilled into the Sunrise River, a tributary to the St. Croix.

Assuming Pawlenty signs the bill, the company still needs two major permits from the state Public Utilities Commission (PUC), as well as local and state permits for water consumption and other issues, said Bob Cupit, PUC manager of energy facilities planning.

The plant would take two years to build and employ up to 500 people at its busiest period of construction, said LS Power spokesman Blake Wheatley. It would generate electricity for consumers in the Twin Cities, Milwaukee and even Chicago, depending on demand. Wheatley said the plant would probably shut down at night and over the weekends, when power demands typically drop.

More than half of the power generated in Minnesota comes from coal-fired power plants; less than 5 percent of the state’s electricity comes from natural gas-fired plants.

Lent Township Board Chair Gene Olson said he favors the plant, despite objections from some neighbors who worry about noise, pollution and the visual disruption of a power plant in a rural area.

“My viewpoint is a little bit different than the younger generation,” Olson said. “I enjoy the fact of walking up to the wall and turning on the switch and the lights come on, or I have energy to run the deep freeze.”

Olson said the township’s annual operating budget is about $750,000; the township would get about $100,000 from the plant’s annual taxes, money that would go to reduce taxes paid by the township’s 2,700 residents.

The owner of the farmland that would host the plant, Frankie Dusenka, said he wants it, too: “I think it’s a good thing,” he said. “It’s getting to where you can’t afford to own land anymore because the taxes are so bad.”

Matt McKinney • 612-673-7329

One Response to “Chisago 855MW LS Power gas generation plant in news”

  1. Joel Says:

    I live nearby in Forest Lake and I am giving a speech on this new plant, any suggestions?

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