Great River Energy to close its Coal Creek Station in 2022

Published: May. 7, 2020 at 12:09 PM CDT
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Great River Energy leaders announced the closing of North Dakota’s largest coal fired generating plant Thursday.

Coal Creek Station has provided jobs for hundreds of workers for the past 40 years.

The company says it has tried to sell the plant, but has found no buyers.

The electric cooperative plans to phase out remaining coal resources, add significant renewable energy and explore critical grid-scale battery technology.

Coal Creek Station employs 260 people.

By the end of 2022 those workers could be out of a job.

The company plans to distribute $15 million over the next five years to ease the economic impact on workers and the region.

Great River Energy Vice President and Chief Power Supply Officer Jon Brekke said, "We're mindful on the impacts on the employees in the surrounding communities and we're doing what's feasible to mitigate those impacts with the voluntary payments that we're making."

The electric cooperative plans to phase out remaining coal resources, add significant renewable energy, including critical grid-scale battery technology and major wind energy projects in Minnesota.

Great River Energy President and CEO David Saggau said, "The plant will continue in operation until the second half of 2022, and after that point it is our intention to dismantle the plant and brownfield the site."

Great River Energy says they are open to the idea of someone else taking ownership of the plant.

Saggau said, "We're not talking about selling it for a material price, we are, all of our discussions have been basically giving the plant to somebody and to date we've had no takers."

Great River Energy said it is building a power supply portfolio that will serve their member-owner cooperatives for decades.

Great River Energy also plans to modify its Spiritwood Station power plant near Jamestown to be fueled with natural gas.