North Dakota coal industry alive and well

Posted July 10, 2017

The Minneapolis Star Tribune profiled the North Dakota coal industry last week:

UNDERWOOD, N.D. The chimneys of Coal Creek Station, North Dakota’s largest power plant, tower 60 stories over the prairie. Nearby, an excavator that looks like a giant crane looms over a big coal mine.The mine feeds the plant owned by Maple Grove-based Great River Energy, which churns out electricity for hundreds of thousands of Minnesotans. Four other coal mines dot the North Dakota countryside, mostly supplying neighboring power plants.

This “mine-to-mouth” model produces some of the cheapest power in the country and has enabled coal to remain an economic anchor in North Dakota, even as the industry crumbles in other parts of the United States.

Mines have actually been hiring in North Dakota in recent years, a sharp contrast to other coal regions. Utilities have been investing significant money in coal-powered plants.

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