Coal Creek Station

Coal Creek Station is the largest power plant in the U.S. state of North Dakota. Located near the Missouri River between Underwood, North Dakota and Washburn, North Dakota, it is the largest lignite-fired electricity plant in North Dakota. Its two generators are each rated at 605 megawatts (Unit 1 went in service in 1979, Unit 2 came online in 1980), with a peak total production of nearly 1.2 gigawatts.[1]

The station is owned by Great River Energy, an alliance of Minnesota rural electric cooperatives, and transmits its power to Minnesota over the CU power line, a 700-kilometre (430 mi) HVDC transmission line which is operated at +/- 400 kV. The line and plant were completed and put in service by 1981.

The Coal Creek Station, part of the larger CU Project, was the subject of controversy.

The boiler building of Coal Creek Station is 89.91 meters high. Hereby the boiler is fixed to the roof. The chimney of Coal Creek Station is 198.12 metres tall. Coal Creek Station is the third-largest producer of coal ash in the country, generating over four million pounds of surface waste stored onsite each year.[2]

On 14 May 2020, Great River Energy announced that this power plant would shut down in late 2022 since it was no longer economically feasible to run,[3] and shift to wind energy and energy storage.[4][5]

Waste heat utilizationEdit

Coal Creek Station was the testing site for Great River Energy's Lignite Enhancement System. Their project, “DryFining,” created a new technology for coal-firing power plants that improves fuel quality, decreases volatile gas emissions, and reduces a plant’s operating expenses and maintenance costs. The Great River Energy team also included fluid bed dryer engineer Heyl & Patterson Inc. of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, the U.S. Department of Energy’s National Energy Technology Laboratory, Lehigh University’s Energy Research Center, the Electric Power Research Institute and engineering construction contractor WorleyParsons. The team was awarded with Power Engineering magazine’s 2010 Coal-Fired Project of the Year.[6]

Some of the waste heat generated by the coal combustion is also utilized by the nearby Blue Flint Ethanol plant.


  1. ^ "Existing Electric Generating Units in the United States, 2006. It will be closing in 2022 based on a decision by Great River Energy" (Excel). Energy Information Administration, U.S. Department of Energy. 2006. Retrieved 2008-07-14. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  2. ^ Sturgis, Sue (January 4, 2009). "Coal's ticking timebomb: Could disaster strike a coal ash dump near you?". Institute for Southern Studies. Archived from the original on September 27, 2011. Retrieved February 2, 2010.
  3. ^
  4. ^ Gearino, Dan (2020-05-14). "Inside Clean Energy: With Planned Closing of North Dakota Coal Plant, Energy Transition Comes Home to Rural America". InsideClimate News. Retrieved 2020-05-15.
  5. ^ "LCP's electricity supplier to shift away from coal". The Timberjay. Retrieved 2020-05-15.
  6. ^ "Power Engineering Names Projects of the Year". Power-Gen Worldwide. Archived from the original on 2010-12-18. Retrieved 2010-12-14. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)

External linksEdit

Coordinates: 47°22′37″N 101°09′26″W / 47.37694°N 101.15722°W / 47.37694; -101.15722