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Letter: Big Stone II is the answer to high energy costs

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Considering the prices of all kinds of energy lately, I wonder what ever happened to making electricity affordable to all citizens in the state of Minnesota. The Big Stone II plant would provide such energy without setting back our state's impressive but costly renewable energy standard.

If, by law, utilities have to provide "affordable" electricity, and 25 percent of it has to come from renewable sources by 2025, then there is a conflict if the renewable energy called for is more expensive to provide. But I understand that the utilities signed off on the renewable energy standard. Apparently, "affordable" doesn't necessarily mean "least expensive," and we can expect higher electric bills in the future.

On the other hand, if a utility can meet the renewable requirement, why shouldn't it be able to provide the rest of the power its customers need with inexpensive energy from South Dakota? All Minnesota has to do is allow a power line to come from the Big Stone II power plant across the border and thousands of customers of western Minnesota utilities can have more affordable electricity while the state's renewable energy requirement is still met.

As the leader of a large employer in the area, I have concerns about the impact of future energy costs. BTD Manufacturing is an operating company of Otter Tail Corporation, as is Otter Tail Power Company, one of the utilities proposing Big Stone II. Whether that connection existed or not, I would still urge support for this project. I believe Big Stone II is part of the solution to affordably meet the escalating energy needs we will face in this state, in this community and in our homes and businesses. -- Paul Gintner, President, BTD Manufacturing

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