GRE announces Stanton Station retirement
By Annette Tait
Clear blue sky above the stacks of a coal-fired generation plant generally means one thing to residents of coal country – a temporary shutdown for maintenance or upgrades. The recent lack of exhaust rising from Stanton Station has told a very different story.
Earlier this year, Great River Energy announced Stanton Station would operate only during periods when demand made it economically feasible to do so. The plant ran just four days during an 18-day period in late March/early April.
Last Friday, GRE announced Stanton Station will be “retired” by May 2017. The point was reached where it is more affordable for GRE to operate other plants or purchase power from the regional market than to keep Stanton Station online.
“After careful consideration of several alternatives, it became clear that retiring the plant was in the best interest of our member cooperatives,” GRE President and CEO David Saggau said.
The decision was not made in haste, nor was it made lightly. GRE has been considering alternatives to maintain Stanton Station’s viability since 2014, when coal-generated electricity started to see a drop in local market prices. The reduced value began to affect the plant in 2015, leading to the decision this past March to operate on a limited basis.
“This is strictly a market-based decision,” Dakota Communications Supervisor Lyndon Anderson said.