Midwest Utilities Continue Pivot to Renewables

May 10, 2020

Great River Energy (GRE) is the second largest utility in Minnesota, and typical of the large, mainstream, rust belt electric providers that are switching, rapidly, from coal fired to renewable based power, wind in this case, but solar coming on strong across the region as well.

Dave Saggau is the CEO of GRE, above, who explained the company’s experience, and early skepticism, about wind – and what won them over.

Minneapolis Star Tribune:

Great River Energy will shutter its big North Dakota coal-fired power plant several years early, an extraordinary move that underscores the waning cost-competitiveness of coal in electricity production.

The Maple Grove-based company Thursday announced the closure of Coal Creek Station — one of the Upper Midwest’s largest power plants — in the second half of 2022. It will be replaced to a great extent with new wind farms, including four in Minnesota.

The plant, which supplies power to hundreds of thousands of Minnesotans, has historically been a low-cost electricity producer — it’s adjacent to a coal mine, a big competitive edge. But due to dramatic changes in electricity markets in recent years, Coal Creek is losing money.about:blankabout:blankabout:blankabout:blank

“The real driver for this decision is economics,” said David Saggau, CEO of Great River, a nonprofit wholesale cooperative owned by 28 retail electricity co-ops, most of them in Minnesota.

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