Co-op to receive power from largest wind farm in ND

Great River wind turbine
Great River Energy's headquarters in Maple Grove, Minn.
Jeffrey Thompson | MPR News 2009

A Minnesota-based cooperative plans to receive power from what is expected to be the largest stand-alone wind farm in North Dakota.

The Great River Energy cooperative and wind developer Apex Clean Energy formally announced plans Tuesday for the 400-megawatt Discovery Wind project slated for southern McLean County near Coal Creek Station.

When the wind farm is producing power, that electricity will displace energy from Coal Creek under an agreement reached with affiliates of Rainbow Energy Marketing Corp., which are purchasing the coal-fired power plant and power line from Great River, the Bismarck Tribune reported.

Rainbow Energy, of Bismarck, has plans to install a system to capture Coal Creek's carbon emissions.

“This announcement shows our dedication to being partners in clean energy with Great River Energy, and it delivers on verbal promises we made when we first announced our intent to purchase Coal Creek Station,” said Stacy Tschider, president of Rainbow’s affiliates. “This is just one of many carbon neutral objectives we intend to fulfill.”

Great River plans to continue purchasing power from Coal Creek for the next 10 years under an agreement with Rainbow. The cooperative estimates it will reduce its carbon emissions more than 80 percent by 2025, when Discovery Wind is expected to begin operating.

Apex President and CEO Mark Goodwin called the work by the companies to develop Discovery Wind and connect it to the Coal Creek power line an “innovative solution.”

“Not only will we deliver clean power to a major market, but we will be able to use capacity on an existing pathway to do so — a rare and valuable arrangement” in a saturated power market, he said.

Your support matters.

You make MPR News possible. Individual donations are behind the clarity in coverage from our reporters across the state, stories that connect us, and conversations that provide perspectives. Help ensure MPR remains a resource that brings Minnesotans together.