Two workers walk near wind turbine

Moving Toward a Clean Energy Future

Coal plant communities in the transition to clean energy

Earlier this spring, Great River Energy—which provides electricity to 28 rural electric co-ops in Minnesota—announced they would close their only remaining coal plant several years early. The energy will be replaced mostly with new wind farms, including four in Minnesota. The closure will reduce Great River’s carbon emissions by 95% over their 2005 benchmarks.

The Coal Creek Station plant, located in North Dakota, receives coal from an adjacent mine. Yet even without coal transportation costs, the plant is no longer economical to operate. Wind, solar, and innovative energy storage continue to decrease in cost, driving energy companies’ plans to decarbonize. 

This closure highlights the need for smart policies to assist communities and power plant employees as we transition to clean energy. This year, Conservation Minnesota worked with legislators and affected communities to establish Community Transition Grants which will support economic development in communities facing retirement of fossil fuel plants.

As Minnesota’s remaining coal plants are closed, Conservation Minnesota will work to ensure local communities aren’t left behind as we transition to affordable clean energy.