Sign our petition to save the Coal Creek power plant

Center of the American Experiment is the leading organization in the state of Minnesota promoting reliable, affordable electricity. This is why we believe it is vitally important for our supporters to voice their support for saving the Coal Creek power plant, a large, reliable 1,150-megawatt power plant in North Dakota.

Last year, Great River Energy (GRE) announced it would close the Coal Creek Station if it could not find a new buyer.

Fortunately, a company has stepped forward to purchase Coal Creek, but rural electric co-op board members still need to vote to approve the sale. This is why you should sign our petition if you have a rural electric coop as your electricity provider.

Coal Creek Station is one of the most reliable, affordable power plants in the entire country, and recent rolling blackouts in California, Texas, and several other midwestern states have shown we need as many reliable power plants on the grid as possible. 

In fact, the regional electric grid to which Minnesota belongs has already been stressed several times this year. First, by the Polar Vortex of February and more recently due to warm temperatures and low wind production. 

During periods of high electricity demand and low output from renewables, rural electric co-ops were able to keep the lights on using reliable coal plants, like Coal Creek Station. 

Selling the plant to Rainbow Energy will also be good for keeping electric bills as low as possible because according to S&P Global Market Intelligence, Coal Creek produces some of the most affordable electricity in the United States. 

Selling Coal Creek would also benefit the environment because the new owners plan to install equipment on the plant to catch the plant’s carbon dioxide emissions and store them safely underground. This technology is like putting a catalytic converter on a car to catch pollution and run cleaner. 

It’s true that this technology still has a lot to prove, but all new energy innovations need an opportunity to prove their worth in the market. 

Groups who oppose the sale claim carbon capture is too risky, but their alternative plan of relying on a grid powered by wind, solar, and battery storage would be far riskier. 

A recent Wood Mackenzie analysis estimates there will be 741,000 megawatt-hours (MWh) of battery storage installed in the entire world by 2030. This may sound like a lot, but it is only 1 percent of Minnesota’s annual electricity consumption.  

In contrast, Coal Creek generated 9.1 million MWh in 2019, twelve times more than the total estimated storage capacity available globally by 2030. Anyone who argues battery storage is the solution is not being serious. 

The sale of Coal Creek is good news for the reliability and affordability of our electricity supply, and it will also provide for North Dakota and Minnesota an opportunity to lead the world in new carbon capture technology. Co-op board members should vote to approve the sale. 

Sign our petition if you have not done so already, and share it with your friends and family.