At the regular monthly meeting of Lake Region Electric Cooperative (LREC) held on July 29, 2021, the LREC Board of Directors voted unanimously to adopt a resolution approving both the sale of Great River Energy’s (GRE) Coal Creek Station and related assets to Rainbow Energy Center, LLC, and the sale of GRE’s high voltage direct current (HVDC) system and related assets to Nexus Line, LLC. LREC believes that taking this action will allow it to continue to provide safe, reliable, and affordable electricity for its members. The LREC board of directors directed LREC’s delegate to deliver the resolution to the GRE special meeting scheduled for the following day.
At the special meeting held on July 30, GRE’s member cooperatives, including but not limited to LREC, approved the sale of Coal Creek Station and the HVDC system to Rainbow Energy Center, LLC and Nexus Line, LLC, respectively. GRE’s all‐requirements members, including but not limited to LREC, also approved a related purchase power agreement with Rainbow Energy Center, LLC. GRE will purchase 1,050 megawatts of power from Rainbow Energy Center, LLC for approximately two years, followed by 300 megawatts for approximately eight years.
GRE projects that this transaction could save its members approximately $130 million compared with shutting down Coal Creek Station. As a result, the projected savings when purchasing electricity wholesale from GRE will likely be economically beneficial for LREC and its members. Rainbow Energy Center, LLC plans to operate the 1,151‐megawatt (MW) power plant using current plant employees.
Rainbow Energy Center, LLC’s plan to pursue carbon capture and storage at Coal Creek Station provides the possibility that many of the employees at the plant and adjacent coal mine will retain their jobs for the long term. Coal Creek Station will be the one of the largest coal fired power plants pursuing carbon capture and storage, leading the way globally in retrofitting coal fired power plants for carbon capture and storage. GRE will operate and maintain the HVDC system for Nexus Line, LLC using existing GRE transmission employees under a 10‐year contract.
Rainbow Energy Center, LLC and Nexus Line, LLC are affiliates of Rainbow Energy Marketing Corporation of Bismarck, North Dakota.
GRE is building a power supply portfolio that will serve its member‐owner cooperatives, including LREC, with clean, affordable, and reliable energy for decades. GRE will add 900 MW of wind energy by the end of 2023 and is ahead of schedule with meeting Minnesota’s goal to reduce carbon dioxide emission rates by 80% of GRE’s 2005 levels.
The purchase of Coal Creek Station and the HVDC system is expected to close later this year, after additional required approvals are obtained.