Gas plant marks milestone for NE Minnesota power

Minnesota Power officials on Thursday will recognize the opening of the company's first natural gas fired power plant.

Last month, the Duluth-based utility converted its 110-megawatt Laskin Energy Center in Hoyt Lakes, Minn., from coal to natural gas as part of the utility's plan to generate less power from coal and more from renewables and natural gas.

About a decade ago Minnesota Power produced 95 percent of its power from coal. Now that's down to 75 percent.

Michelle Rosier with the Sierra Club says the utility should move faster.

"We're not asking for them to turn off the coal plants tomorrow, but we're asking them to be smart for their customers, and to create and announce a clear path beyond coal," she said.

The conversion from coal to natural gas is part of a national trend as utilities try to meet stricter environmental regulations.

Grow the Future of Public Media

MPR News is supported by Members. Gifts from individuals power everything you find here. Make a gift of any amount today to become a Member!