During periods of the Polar Vortex, Coal Creek generated more electricity than the entire MISO wind fleet

Center of the American Experiment is currently encouraging our readers to sign our petition today, supporting the sale of the Coal Creek power plant so it can continue to provide reliable, affordable energy to Minnesota electric co-ops.

This is especially important because wind energy has a bad habit of disappearing when electricity is needed most, like during the Polar Vortex of February 2021.

In fact, data from the U.S. Energy Information Administration show that wind generation plummeted so much during this time that the Coal Creek station was providing more electricity than all of the wind installed on the regional electric grid, the Midcontinent Independent Systems Operator (MISO), combined.

This should never happen because the Coal Creek Station has an installed capacity of only 1,150 megawatts (MW) of capacity and there are 22,040 MW of installed wind capacity in the MISO footprint, which includes portions of 15 states and one Canadian province, which you can see in the map below. The fact that one coal plant in North Dakota was able to outproduce all of the wind turbines in MISO is a damning condemnation of the technology.

The bar graph below really helps to put it in perspective. There is roughly 19 times more wind capacity installed in MISO than the capacity of the Coal Creek plant, but these wind turbines did not show up to work when the power was needed most. Thankfully, Coal Creek did.

Renewable energy special interest groups are pushing hard on local co-op boards to vote down the sale of Coal Creek, which will result in the closure of this reliable, affordable coal plant.

This doesn’t make any sense from a reliability or environmental perspective, because the new owners of the plant want to install new technology on the plant that would capture its carbon dioxide emissions and store them safely underground. If groups that promote renewables actually think climate change is an existential crisis, they should be applauding, not opposing, the sale of the power plant.

Saving Coal Creek is important for the reliability and affordability of the electric grid. If your local electricity provider is a co-op, you should contact your co-op board member today and encourage them to approve the sale of the plant.