Business, State/Region — May 7, 2020 at 4:13 pm

Great River Energy to Close Coal Plant, Invest in Renewables

Great River Energy headquarters in Maple Grove, MN, utilizes wind and solar power for its energy needs.

Coal Fired Plant in North Dakota to Close in 2022.

Minnesota energy producer Great River Energy released a plan Thursday to close the largest coal-fired plant in North Dakota as it aims to move towards renewable energy resources. The company looks to replace most of the lost energy with wind farms in Minnesota by 2023. Additionally, the plan states that another currently coal-fired plant will be transitioned to clean natural gas.

GRE President and CEO David Saggau
  • President and CEO David Saggau said that the energy cooperative is “taking advantage of cost-competitive renewables and reliable access to market energy while fostering innovation as the technology of our industry evolves.”

The Coal Creek Station plant in North Dakota has been operational for more than 40 years along with its staff of 260 workers, generating 1,151 megawatts of electricity for the region. The proposed wind energy would make up 1,100 megawatts of the loss and decrease costs for consumers of Great River’s energy. Spiritwood Station, also located in North Dakota, is the plant set to become a natural gas energy producer from its current 99 megawatt lignite coal electricity generation.

Additionally, Great River announced plans to create a first of its kind long-form battery storage in collaboration with Form Energy of Massachusetts. The proposed battery would hold up to a megawatt of power that it could deliver continuously for 150 hours, nearly four hours longer than lithium ion alternatives. Uses of this technology would be for situations where normal power generation is not possible, such as during heat waves or polar vortexes. The battery will be built and connected to the local energy grid in Cambridge, Minnesota in 2023.

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