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Hydroelectric Power Makes Comeback, AIM Looks to Benefit From Sartell Facility

Verso Paper Mill, Photo by WJON.com’s Jim Maurice

SARTELL — Hydroelectricity is becoming popular again after years of tight regulations and environmental opposition. But, new state and federal financial incentives, renewable energy policies and a streamlined permit process has power companies competing to build plants.

Now, AIM Development is poised to reap the rewards. The company which bought the Verso Paper Mill in Sartell also owns the hydroelectric generator at the site. AIM Vice President Jeff McGlin says they are currently deciding whether to operate the facility themselves or sell it to a power company.

First, McGlin says they need to get the generator converted so it can distribute power to customers.  McGlin says AIM is investing $600,000-$700,000 in connecting the facility to the power grid.

McGlin estimates it could provide enough electricity, on average, to serve 5,000-6,000 customers.  He says several power companies have already approached AIM about buying the generator.

McGlin says they will likely decide on whether to sell the facility in the first quarter of 2014.

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