To the editor:
It was May 2020 when Great River Energy announced the closure of North Dakota’s largest Coal Creek Power Plant. The closure would save $170 million annually to members due to the high price of coal compared to renewables. Beside the economic benefits, the closure of Coal Creek Power Plant would greatly reduce carbon dioxide emissions. The reality of our climate crisis and market forces demand an end to coal. Recent extreme weather events with killer heat waves, fires, and drought out west, hurricane and flood damage to our east, tell us we have no time to spare.
So what happened that suddenly GRE is pushing its 28 member cooperatives with over 700,000 customers to support selling the Coal Creek Power plant to Rainbow Energy? And even worse to agree to buy back power from the coal plant over the next 10 years? Solar and wind are the cheapest forms of electricity but this deal would mandate that GRE purchase some of their energy from Rainbow.
There is a political side to this story. In a desperate ploy to shore up support for carbon belching, toxic coal, the McClean county government passed a moratorium on new wind energy production. This ended GREs plan to tap into the great wind resources of the North Dakota Plains and send it to the Twin Cities on its high efficiency DC transmission line, it also threatens the health and safety of county residents who must breathe the toxic air from the power plant.
If you belong to Dakota Electric you should know that there is still time for GRE to live up to its promise and close the Coal Creek Plant for good. The Dakota Electric board will vote on the sale at their July 29th board meeting. Write to or call the directors and tell them to stop propping up coal. Tell Dakota Electric you want to know why it’s in my best interest to keep getting energy from this dirty, expensive coal plant. It’s a bum deal. Your children will thank you.