ELK RIVER, Minn., Aug. 27, 2001 Great River Energy has narrowed its focus to three sites for analysis in its Phase I feasibility study for the possible construction of a new Lignite Vision 21 power plant in central North Dakota.
The sites are in McLean County at Great River Energy's Coal Creek Station power plant, in Mercer County at the company's Stanton Station power plant, and in Morton County at a still unidentified "greenfield" or undeveloped site.
Great River Energy used several criteria for site selection. They include availability and quality of coal; availability and quality of water; potential impact on pristine areas such as national park lands; transmission availability; distance from gas and rail lines; construction access; and the ability to utilize existing infrastructure and labor pool.
"Our overall goal is to identify the lignite-fired plant that will produce the lowest cost electricity to our members while minimizing environmental impacts," said Tim Seck, project manager. "Narrowing our site selection is a crucial first step in achieving that."
During the Phase I feasibility study, GRE's Lignite Vision 21 study team will explore in depth the environmental, transmission, fuel characteristics, generation technologies, and business development feasibility for each site. A business decision regarding the construction of a new lignite-fired power plant will be made by December, 2002.
In April, Great River Energy was awarded a $10 million grant from the North Dakota Industrial Commission to study the feasibility of building a new lignite-based power plant in the state. Of these funds, $2.9 million will be spent on the Phase I study. Great River Energy will provide matching funds. If the company decides to proceed with Phase 2permitting and engineering of a new plantthe remaining $7.1 million will be utilized.
Great River Energy is a wholesale generation and transmission cooperative providing electric energy and related services to 29 distribution cooperatives in Minnesota and Wisconsin. Great River Energy is Minnesota's second largest utility in terms of generation capacity, serving approximately 1.2 million people. Great River Energy owns and operates two lignite-based power plants in North Dakota: the 1,081 megawatt Coal Creek Station near Underwood and 184 megawatt Stanton Station near Stanton. Great River Energy is a Touchstone Energy® Cooperative.