The Largest Power Plant in This State Has Been Rescued From Closure


North Dakota‘s 1,150-megawatt power plant has actually been sold, thankfully keeping some hundreds of workers from losing their jobs. Rainbow Enegry Marketing Co. assumed ownership of Coal Creek Station after nearly a year of negotiations. The Bismark-based company has two subsidiaries– Rainbow Energy Center, which will run the power plant, and Nexus Line LLC, which acquired the electricity transmission delivery system that links North Dakota to Minnesota.

Both sales were finalized on May 2nd. Coal Creek Station has been a North Dakota institution for over forty years, firing up it’s boilers for the first time in 1979.

The state’s leaders celebrated the sale of the plant, which was staring down the barrel of closure after its previous owner, Great River Energy, announced in 2020 that it had actually ended up being a financial burden.

Great river provided electrical power to in between 700,000 and 1.7 million people throughout 28 rural communities in Minnesota.

“This is truly a landmark day and a huge victory for the 650 workers here at Coal Creek and Falkirk Mine, for the residents of McLean County, for the entire state of North Dakota and for U.S. energy security and electrical grid reliability,” North Dakota Governor Doug Burgum said in a statement. “By preserving the reliable, affordable electricity that coal provides while also incorporating renewable power and innovative carbon capture, storage and utilization, this project will be a model of clean baseload power for the world.”

He thanked Rainbow Energy Center’s President Stacy Tschider and Chairman Loren Kopseng for “their risk-taking entrepreneurship that made this sale possible.”

“The benefits of this sale will be felt far and wide, most importantly by the Coal Creek and Falkirk workers and their families and the customers who benefit from a stable electrical grid in North Dakota, Minnesota and beyond,” added Lieutenant Governor Brent Sanford. “We’re thankful to the industry, the state Legislature and our congressional delegation for continuing to find a viable path forward for North Dakota’s abundant lignite coal.”

Without the sale, the power plant and surrounding coal mine would have closed in the 2nd half of 2022. The pending sale to Rainbow Energy Center was announced on June 30, 2021.

Ecological group The Sierra Club, which is based in California, challenged the sale in August of 2021. The organization said the process “lacked transparency and engagement,” as reported United States News and World Report.

According to The Star Tribune, “Great River will also purchase 1,050 megawatts of power from Coal Creek — almost all of its output — through early 2023, and will buy 350 megawatts annually for the following eight years.”

The company has estimated it will realize an 80% reduction in carbon emission by 2032 due to increasing its renewable resource production.

H/T Timcast

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