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About Coal Creek Station

North Dakota’s largest power plant – features two units with a total generation capacity of more than 1,100 megawatts. The power plant is located about 50 miles north of Bismarck, North Dakota, near the city of Underwood. Learn more about Coal Creek Station by watching our video.

Ground was broken for Coal Creek Station in the fall of 1974. The plant started generating electricity from Unit 1 in 1979 and from Unit 2 in 1980. Coal Creek Station has been a top performer in several national rankings of power plants as it is one of the most reliable and cost-efficient in the country.

The fuel source for the plant is lignite coal, supplied by the adjoining Falkirk Mine. Coal Creek Station uses about 22,000 tons of lignite per day, or about 7.5 to 8.0 million tons per year, to generate electricity for Great River Energy’s members. Electricity is delivered to those members over a high voltage direct current (HVDC) transmission system that runs a distance of 436 miles.

Coal Creek Station has more than 200 employees, making it one of the largest employers in McLean County.

How the plant works

High pressure steam drives the advanced multi-state turbines to power the generators. Water is turned into steam as it flows through tubes that form the walls of the plant’s massive furnaces (205 feet tall). The steam is superheated to a temperature higher than 1,000 degrees Fahrenheit and then it is released as high-pressure steam into the turbines. With most of its energy spent powering the turbines, lower pressure steam is recaptured, cooled, condensed and sent back to the boiler. A sophisticated control center, staffed around the clock, monitors the plant’s every function.

Safety policy

Great River Energy considers no phase of operation or administration as being of greater importance than the safety and well being of its employees. It is the policy of Great River Energy to provide the necessary resources to maintain safe and healthful working conditions and to follow operating practices that will safeguard all employees.

Coal Creek Station was the first power plant in the United States to become registered to the Occupational Health and Safety Management System (OHS S) 18001 standard. The purpose of the OHS S program is to promote overall safety, improve personal safety, and conduct third-party audits of safety and safety training programs.

Coal Creek Station’s safety policy contains a commitment to continuous improvement of the safety program and prevention of injury and ill health. One tool the OHS S utilizes to continuously improve personal safety is a risk assessment by plant work groups. Risk controls and mitigation are then targeted to the safety risks associated with the specific work groups.

Environmental performance

Since the power plant was built, approximately $200 million has been invested in environmental equipment in order to ensure the best available technology. This helps maintain Coal Creek Station’s status as one of the cleanest coal-fired power plants in the region. Despite that, Great River Energy continues to look for ways to further reduce emissions at Coal Creek Station.

Protecting the environment has always been a priority at Coal Creek Station. For example, in 1998, the plant received International Organization for Standardization 14001 certification of its environmental management system. As a certified plant, Coal Creek Station has an environmental management system in place to continuously evaluate and improve environmental performance.

In addition, Coal Creek Station has installed additional controls to substantially reduce sulfur dioxide and nitrogen oxide emissions.

Coal Creek Station is also participating in several projects to test novel methods to further reduce emissions. One is our patented coal refining project called DryFining™. Also, since 1998, Great River Energy is committed to directly participate in more than $20 million worth of mercury research projects at Coal Creek Station and Stanton Station to characterize, measure and reduce mercury emissions.

In the adjacent coal fields, all mined land is reclaimed at a cost of $20,000 per acre, with restored cropland required to equal or exceed original production.

As a result of all these efforts, both Coal Creek Station and the Falkirk Mine have been recognized time and again for excellence in environmental stewardship.

Power plant program

Coal Creek Station supports Bismarck State College’s Power Plant Technology Program. Through this program, students learn all phases of the industry, including how to operate, repair and maintain all types of power plant equipment. Coal Creek Station employs a number of graduates of the college’s Power Plant Technology Program.

Blue Flint Ethanol

Great River Energy partnered with Headwaters Incorporated to build and operate a 50 million gallon per year dry mill ethanol plant next to Coal Creek Station. Operations began in March 2007. The Blue Flint facility purchases over 18 million bushels per year of locally grown corn for ethanol production. In addition to ethanol production, the facility produces dry distillers grains, a high-protein, nutritious feed for livestock and poultry. Blue Flint is unique in that it utilizes waste heat generated by Coal Creek Station, creating a highly energy efficient operation.

For more information please visit: www.blueflintethanol.com.

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