Coal Creek Station

About Coal Creek Station

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

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.

From the beginning, 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 customers. Electricity is delivered to those customers 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.

Environmental Performance

Protecting the environment has always been a priority at Coal Creek Station.

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.

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 drying coal. 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 the plant and the Falkirk Mine have been recognized time and again for excellence in environmental stewardship.

Coal Combustion Products

Coal Creek Station is marketing increased quantities of fly ash in recent years. The coal combustion product is used to make a more durable and stronger concrete.

As a result of the increased use of fly ash, less land is disturbed for quarrying raw materials, less land is taken out of production for landfills, and less carbon dioxide is emitted into the atmosphere (to make cement).

Total production of fly ash from Coal Creek Station is about 440,000 tons. Coal Creek Station markets about 417,000 tons annually through Headwaters.

In 2003, the power plant built an 85,000-ton fly ash storage dome to ensure that an adequate supply of fly ash is available throughout the year. This will allow Coal Creek Station to fulfill long-term ash contracts and expand into new markets.

Coal Creek Station is also exploring the feasibility of making synthetic gypsum (used to make wallboard and as a soil amendment in agricultural applications) from scrubber sludge.

In addition, Great River Energy is a partner in the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s new Coal Combustion Partnership Program (C2P2) which supports, encourages and promotes the utilization of coal combustion products, such as fly ash from Coal Creek Station.

Coal Drying Project

In January 2003, the U.S. Department of Energy selected Great River Energy’s Coal Creek Station to participate in a clean coal technology project. Through the project, Coal Creek Station will conduct a large-scale coal-drying study to determine if it is feasible to dry larger quantities of lignite for use at the plant.

Lignite has a high moisture and ash content. By reducing the moisture and ash content, less coal is required to generate the same amount of electricity. This also results in fewer emissions.

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.

Stanton Station

About Stanton Station

Stanton Station, named for its proximity to Stanton, North Dakota, is located on a 250-acre site on the bank of the Missouri River.

The plant – which has one turbine generator rated at 189 megawatts – began operating in 1966 with one boiler. A second “supplemental” boiler was added in 1982.

Stanton Station uses approximately 850,000 tons of coal each year to generate electricity.

Stanton Station has more than 70 employees who operate the plant reliably and efficiently, 24-hours a day, 365 days a year.

How the Plant Works

The boilers send steam to the turbine at pressures of under 1,800 pounds per square inch and at a superheated temperature of 1,000 degrees Fahrenheit. The turbine-generator rotates at 3,600 rpm, generating alternating current at 18,000 volts, which is raised to 230,000 volts in the main transformer.

Stanton Station added a new state-of-the-art controls system in 2003.

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.

Environmental Performance

Stanton Station’s boilers are equipped with particulate removal systems. The supplemental boiler has a sulfur dioxide scrubber. In addition, the power plant features state-of-the-art emissions monitoring systems.

Efforts continue to reduce emissions as Great River Energy is directly participating in more than $20 million worth of mercury research projects at Stanton Station and Coal Creek Station to characterize, measure and reduce mercury emissions.

Stanton Station also collects approximately 80 tons of bottom ash each day in the bottom of the boilers. That ash is removed with high-pressure water streams and is then transported to ash settling and storage ponds to the south of the plant. Eventually, that ash is deposited in a permitted on-site landfill.

Fly ash, which is suspended in gas streams from the boilers, is captured and stored in silos, before it is trucked to a permitted disposal site.

Coal Combustion Products

The beneficial use of fly ash from Stanton Station is increasing. About 1,100 tons of Stanton Station fly ash was mixed with soil and clay to make a firm bedding for a new concrete runway at the Washburn, North Dakota, airport. Another 500 tons of fly ash from Coal Creek Station was used in the concrete for the runway.

Great River Energy is a partner in the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s new Coal Combustion Partnership Program (C2P2) which supports, encourages and promotes the utilization of coal combustion products such as fly ash from Stanton Station.

Power Plant Program

Stanton 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. Stanton Station employs a number of graduates of the college’s Power Plant Technology Program.