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Black Hills Power today announced it will suspend operations at its 62-year-old, 34.5-megawatt coal-fired Osage Power Plant in Osage beginning Oct. 1.

"Considering the slow economic recovery that continues to impact the demand for electricity in the Western region, Black Hills Power has elected to suspend operations at Osage," said Chuck Loomis, vice president of operations for Black Hills Power.

"We now have other generation alternatives available to us that are more economical as we continue to provide low-cost, reliable energy for our customers."

The company opened the 100-megawatt Wygen III power plant near Gillette in April.

Loomis added, "The Osage Power Plant will remain an asset in our generation portfolio, and all operating permits will be retained so we can resume full operations when needed."

The utility employs 18 at the Osage plant. After generation is suspended on Oct. 1, the employees will continue working until about Oct. 15 to prepare the equipment at the plant for the suspension.

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Black Hills Power said it is evaluating each Osage employee's individual situation and discussing alternative employment options available within the company. In addition, outplacement services will be available if needed. No other suspensions of operations at Black Hills Power facilities are planned.

Read more about this story in Saturday's Star-Tribune

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