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Summer Restart Planned for Thomson Hydro Station

Updated: 05/13/2014 2:28 PM
Created: 05/13/2014 2:23 PM WDIO.com

After nearly two years of repairs to flood damage, Minnesota Power has announced plans to restart the Thomson Hydro Station as soon as regulatory approval is received.

Al Hodnik, the President and CEO of Minnesota Power parent company Allete, made the announcement at the company's annual shareholders meeting Tuesday.  The Thomson Hydro Station is on the St. Louis River in Carlton County, about 20 miles upstream from Duluth.

The facility sustained major damage in the June 2012 flood that devastated much of the greater Twin Ports region.  Minnesota Power said St. Louis River floodwaters swamped the six Thomson turbines, overtopped the Thomson reservoir, and breached a portion of the earthen dike at the forebay, which is a shallow reservoir that feeds water into the generating station.

Minnesota Power said its hydro engineers anticipate at least one of six turbines at the facility will begin generating energy again this summer, with all six expected online by the end of the year.  The company estimates reconstruction and improvements cost about $90 million.

Hodnik said the company has also made improvements to several other hydro facilities in the region.  A new website, www.mphydro.com, provides the history of Minnesota Power's hydro system and recent investments.

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