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Buyer talks ongoing for Coal Creek

WASHBURN – Talks are ongoing with a potential buyer for the Coal Creek Generating Station. The current owner, Great River Energy, plans to pull out during the second half of 2022.

“I do still feel optimistic that the interested parties will reach a deal,” said John Weeda, director of the North Dakota Transmission Authority, who has been close to those discussions.

The state is making a coordinated effort to do what it can to make the sale possible, he said. Legislation is being watched to ensure it is beneficial, particularly House Bill 1452, relating to the creation of a clean sustainable energy authority and a fund to help with commercialization of clean coal ventures.

“Anybody that’s interested in the plant is also interested in carbon capture. They are also interested in other unique opportunities for utilizing the site and the facilities there,” Weeda said. “With all the good ideas on the table, the chances are pretty good that eventually we are going to get to a deal.”

The process is taking time because of the many factors associated with the generating station, nearby mine and transmission facilities, he said. Blue Flint Ethanol also is located there.

Even if the talks don’t prove fruitful, Weeda said there have been multiple entities interested in the site. To avoid loss of jobs and the challenges of restarting an idled plant, the goal is to have an ownership transition that avoids any shutdown of the plant.

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