HURON, S.D. (KELO) – A new plant in Huron hopes to be a resource for customers during bad weather as well as extended periods of peak energy demand.

The new natural-gas generating energy plant in Huron is important for a number of reasons, especially when it comes to keeping the lights on.

“As we’re seeing more and more intermittent generation sources come online like more wind generation and more solar generation that are there at some times and other times they’re not available, it’s crucial to have this kind of plant sitting in reserve for those moments when it’s needed because those other sources aren’t generating electricity,” Chris Nelson, chairman of the Public Utilities Commission, said.

NorthWestern Energy says the plant is reliable and cost-effective.

“Also, it’s got the cutting-edge environmental conditions placed upon it. So it’s cleaner than what was here before as far as air emissions. And it uses gas much more efficiently, which as we all know with the rising commodity prices, efficiency is going to be really helpful for our customers,” John Hines, vice-president of energy supply at NorthWestern said.

For one Huron family in particular though, this generation station is special because of its name — the Bob Glanzer Generating Station.

“They surprised me and my family by naming it after my father, who had nothing really to do with NorthWestern Energy but had a lot to do with this area and to do with South Dakota in general. So, for his name to be on this monarch on the prairie right now, that’s pretty humbling for our family,” Tom Glanzer, community relations manager with NorthWestern Energy said.

Bob Glanzer, the late South Dakota lawmaker, died from COVID-19 in April of 2020. His son says this 90 million dollar project actually helped the Huron economy during the pandemic.

“We had over 125 to 150 workers here,” Tom Glanzer said. “They were all staying at hotels in town when nobody else was staying anywhere during COVID. We were eating at restaurants, we were buying clothes and boots and food and renting rooms from local people. This plant probably helped a lot of businesses out just while it was being built.”

Now the plant will continue to help Huron, and beyond, by keeping businesses and homes lit up.

Officials say this new plant will also help NorthWestern meet its 2050 Net Zero commitment.