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Sale of North Dakota's largest power plant finalized

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Kim Jarrett | The Center Square

(The Center Square) - The sale of a 1,151-megawatt power plant from Great River Energy to Rainbow Energy Center LLC will keep 650 jobs in the state, North Dakota Governor Doug Burgum said in a news release.

Rainbow Energy Marketing Company owns Rainbow Energy Center and Nexus Line, LLC, which is also purchasing the transmission system that runs from central North Dakota to Minnesota. The two sides finalized the sale Monday.

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The North Dakota Industrial Commission approved a bond last Friday to facilitate a loan to Nexus to purchase the lines through the state's transmission authority. The $150 million bond was purchased through the state-owned Bank of North Dakota, according to information provided by the governor's office. 

GRE announced it was closing the Underwood plant in May 2020. Officials announced the pending acquisition by Rainbow Energy Center and Nexus Line on June 30, 2021.

"It was a tense seven months from when GRE shared its plant closure plans with employees until Rainbow came along with serious interest in buying the plant," said Lt. Gov. Brent Sanford in a statement. "This sale took time and an incredible level of commitment from many dedicated people, and it wouldn't be possible without the innovation by state government, reasonable regulation of coal plants, becoming the first state in the nation to achieve primacy to permit a Class VI injection well, and world-class carbon capture research and commercialization right here in North Dakota."

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Burgum called the sale "a huge win for the 650 workers here at Coal Creek and Falkirk Mine, for the residents of McLean County, for the entire state of North Dakota and for U.S. energy security and electrical grid reliability.

"By preserving the reliable, affordable electricity that coal provides while also incorporating renewable power and innovative carbon capture, storage and utilization, this project will be a model of clean baseload power for the world," he said.