The Douglas County Board is lending its support to plans to build a 550-megawatt natural gas power plant in Superior as the proposed project winds its way through the Wisconsin regulatory process.

The Board adopted a resolution in support of the project proposed by Minnesota Power and Dairyland Power Cooperative to help in their goals to expand renewable energy development.

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"We are just starting the Wisconsin permitting process," said Jennifer Peterson, manager of regulatory affairs for Minnesota Power. "In the last year and a half, we have moved through approvals in Minnesota. Because this project is being jointly built by Minnesota Power and Dairyland Power, we need permits in both states."

The proposed $700 million power plant would be the largest private investment in Douglas County's history, and would support 260 construction jobs and 25 full-time jobs when the plant is operational. It would contribute $2 million taxes and fees, and would serve as a backup when wind and solar energy is limited.

Supervisor Keith Allen asked if challenges to the Minnesota permits were expected.

Peterson said the challenges were expected. "It's rare for the court of appeals to overturn a decision by the commission," she said.

"I think it's a great project for us," Supervisor Doug Finn said. "I just want to thank you for putting this in Superior. It's disappointing that any time that we have something going on over here, you have all kinds of 'anti' people in Duluth, for the record."

Board supports 148th

The Douglas County Board also adopted a resolution in support of the 148th Fighter Wing as the Minnesota Air National Guard works toward installation of the new F-35 aircraft in Duluth.

The resolution was introduced by County Board Chairman Mark Liebaert, Finn, Allen and Supervisor Michael Raunio, but Liebaert said several other supervisors wanted to support its introduction to the board but had to be limited.

"It was well-supported," Liebaert said.