Great River Energy (GRE), Mille Lacs Energy Cooperative’s wholesale power provider, reached an agreement to sell the Coal Creek Station power plant to Rainbow Energy Center, LLC.
The sale of Coal Creek Station averts the plant’s closure, which was scheduled for the second half of 2022 unless a buyer was found. Rainbow Energy Center will continue to operate the 1,151-megawatt (MW) power plant using current plant employees they hire. Rainbow Energy Center also plans to develop carbon capture and storage at Coal Creek Station.
“We are excited for what the future holds for our North Dakota employees and the communities surrounding Coal Creek Station,” said GRE President and Chief Executive Officer David Saggau.
Nexus Line, LLC has reached an agreement to purchase the high voltage direct current (HVDC) transmission system that extends between central North Dakota and Minnesota. GRE will operate and maintain the HVDC system under a 10-year contract.
“The changes to GRE’s power supply will deliver what our members want today and set us up for success for a very long time,” explained MLEC's CEO Sarah Cron. “We’re looking forward to this transition.”
“The successful implementation of carbon capture and storage is central to our plans at Coal Creek Station,” said Rainbow Energy Marketing Corp. President Stacy L. Tschider. “As a privately held company, we are uniquely positioned to continue the successful legacy that Great River Energy and its employees have established in North Dakota.”
Rainbow Energy Center plans to add incremental generation from renewables to fully utilize the capacity of the HVDC transmission system.
GRE will also enter into a power purchase agreement with Rainbow Energy Center, LLC. These transactions will help ensure GRE continues to provide its member-owners with reliable and affordable electricity as the cooperative builds its future power supply portfolio.
“We are building a power supply portfolio that will serve our member-owner cooperatives with clean, affordable and reliable energy for decades,” said Saggau. The cooperative will add 900 MW of wind energy by 2023 and remains on track to meet Minnesota’s 80% carbon dioxide reduction goal ahead of schedule.
The sale of Coal Creek Station and the HVDC system is expected to close in late 2021, after required approvals are obtained.