Coal Creek Station sale to Rainbow Energy Center final

Transmission system sale also final

Submitted Photo The sale of the Coal Creek Station near Underwood to Rainbow Energy Center was final on Monday.

UNDERWOOD – Nearly one year after the purchase agreement was first announced, the sale of Coal Creek Station and the high voltage direct current (HVDC) transmission system was completed Monday morning.

Rainbow Energy Center, LLC purchased the 1,151-megawatt power plant, and Nexus Line, LLC purchased the high voltage direct current transmission system that extends between central North Dakota and Minnesota. Both assets were previously owned by Great River Energy, a Minnesota not-for-profit electric cooperative.

Rainbow Energy Center and Nexus Line are affiliates of Rainbow Energy Marketing Corporation of Bismarck.

The sale to Rainbow Energy Center was vital to preserving jobs at Coal Creek Station, the Falkirk mine and many direct support jobs, as well as supporting the regional and state economy.

“Saving jobs and providing certainty to employees at both the plant and the mine has been a top priority for us,” said Rainbow Energy Marketing Corporation President Stacy L. Tschider. “The employees are one of the most valuable assets of all. They have been instrumental in making Coal Creek Station the most efficient coal plant in North Dakota. It’s because of their hard work and their willingness to be innovative means the future of this power plant is very bright.”

“It was important for Great River Energy to have a buyer that understood the importance of maintaining the workforce at Coal Creek Station. We’re thankful Rainbow Energy Marketing has always put employees at the top of their list of priorities,” said Great River Energy Vice President and Chief Transmission Officer Priti Patel. “We are also pleased that our employees will continue to operate the HVDC system for Nexus Line for the next 20 years.”

“We are very excited because this transaction means over 650 direct jobs will be preserved, but also that the local communities and region will continue to thrive,” said Carroll Dewing, vice president of Operations, The North American Coal Corporation. “Today we celebrate our 40-year relationship with Great River Energy and look forward to a new relationship with Rainbow Energy Center for decades to come.”

As a part of today’s announcement, Rainbow Energy Center hosted a celebration for employees with speeches from several local and statewide elected officials as well as others who helped make this transaction possible.

“This is truly a landmark day and a huge win 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,” said Gov. Doug Burgum. “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.”

“This sale took time and an incredible level of commitment from many dedicated people,” said Lt. Gov. Brent Sanford. “It wouldn’t be possible without the innovation by state government, reasonable regulation of coal plants, becoming the first state in the nation to achieve primacy to permit a Class VI injection well, and world-class carbon capture research and commercialization right here in North Dakota. 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.”

“For nearly 15 years, we’ve worked to crack the code on CCUS (carbon capture, utilization and storage) and make North Dakota a prime location for the development and implementation of this technology. This will enable America to continue utilizing all of our abundant energy resources, including coal, to support both economic and national security,” said Sen. John Hoeven “CCUS was a key part in helping this sale move forward, and we look forward to Coal Creek Station and Falkirk Mine providing good-paying jobs, along with affordable and reliable power, for years to come.”

“Decades, maybe even centuries from now, students will read about this day, as the day North Dakota saved base load electricity. The miners, plant workers, linemen, and others all work so people on the end of the line have light when they flip the switch. Even if the customer doesn’t know it, you all are creating the model that will work well into the future,” said Sen. Kevin Cramer.

Tschider emphasized to attendees that Rainbow is committed to efforts to successfully implement carbon capture at Coal Creek Station.

“From the beginning, we knew our challenge would be to change the way carbon is handled at coal-fired power plants. To ensure the long-term health and viability of an industry that means so much to so many, we must run towards finding a solution to how we treat carbon. Now that the sale is complete, we turn our full attention towards delivering on our carbon capture objectives so we may extend the life of this power plant and look towards a carbon neutral future,” Tschider said.


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