"Ottertail and others are looking at coal again," says Jeff Endrizzi, who manages the Ottertail Power Company's Big Stone power plant just across the Minnesota border in South Dakota.Endrizzi
says coal is the most affordable fuel for power plants.
"We've all seen what happened to natural gas prices.That was really in vogue as a source for fuel for power plants in the '90s.We've seen what happened to the market for that.Coal is really back in the spotlight," Endrizzi
knows the challenges of smokestack pollution.
Plant Manager Jeff Endrizzi
says those limits can cost the plant thousands of dollars an hour.
"A day like today, when power is going for $400 a megawatt hour and we're restricted 50 megawatts from what we should be running at, those are real dollars," says Endrizzi
."That's either opportunity sales, or power we have to buy on the open market." Ottertail
has given up on this experiment.The experimental filtering system will be torn out, and Ottertail
will spend millions more replacing it with a traditional, proven system.Endrizzi
is glad Ottertail tried the new system, but he's
not sure he'd do it again.
"Utilities tend to be conservative.It's hard to stick your neck out with something that isn't proven," says Endrizzi