Jim Boyle

Editor

Great River Energy in Elk River proposed last year to construct a combustion turbine to replace the Elk River Energy Recovery Station’s 49 megawatts of generating capacity, but after a series of internal discussions, the company announced last week it has decided not to proceed.

With the demolition of the power plant, GRE reported it must find a replacement power source by June 2022 to maintain existing contracts for its transmission system. The proposed turbine would have a similar generating capacity but would occur on a much smaller footprint.

The applicant sought non-binding feedback from the Elk River Planning Commission on Oct. 27 and the Elk River City Council on Nov. 2 regarding a potential conditional use permit to construct the combustion turbine at its existing site.

The company heard no objections to the concept of putting in an application for a conditional use permit. A spokesperson for GRE said the next step would be for its board of directors to make a decision.

After the council had its conversation about the concept proposal, Elk River Mayor John Dietz told them, “I don’t think the council has any objections to making formal application.”

Daniel Becchetti, a spokesperson for GRE, said there are few reasons why the company chose not to pursue the natural gas turbine project any further.

“We were in the very early stages of planning last fall and there was a fairly small window of time to complete the project,” he said. “Due to limited availability of the equipment needed on the timeline allowed, we made the decision to cancel the project and focus on completing our strategic power supply changes.”

For more information on those changes, visit greatriverenergy.com.

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