Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Coal: Another plant bites the dust

Great River Energy to retire North Dakota coal plant

In a July 2016 air quality report, Ceres and the Bank of America identified Great River Energy as the second highest carbon emitter, and the third worst mercury emitter, among the nation’s largest power companies <mjbradley.com/benchmarking-air-emissions>. A stunning 97 percent of Great River Energy’s generation came from burning coal in 2014. (Source: Fresh Energy)

Elizabeth Dunbar, Minnesota Public Radio · July 15, 2016

Great River Energy announced Friday it will retire a small coal-fired power plant near Bismarck, N.D., by May 2017, because it's become too expensive to run.

The Stanton Station is one of several power plants that generates electricity for Great River Energy's 1.7 million Minnesota consumers. The 189-megawatt plant had not been slated for retirement, according to Great River Energy's latest resource plan with the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission. However, utility officials said low prices in the regional energy market drove the decision.

"After careful consideration of several alternatives, it became clear that retiring the plant was in the best interest of our member cooperatives," David Saggau, Great River Energy's president and CEO, said in a news release.

Officials said Stanton has not been running at full capacity lately because of the economic conditions that made it cheaper to get electricity from the utility's other plants or purchase it from elsewhere.

Environmental groups hailed the planned retirement. The Sierra Club's Beyond Coal campaign says it would be the 237th coal plant to be retired since 2010. The group has targeted coal plants because of their contribution to carbon emissions linked to climate change.

(Continued here.)

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