January 13, 2021

Erickson – McLean youth ‘think chemistry, physics’

By Suzanne Werre, BHG News
The employees of Coal Creek Station and the Falkirk Mine didn’t get any extraordinary Christmas presents courtesy of Great River Energy, but McLean County State’s Attorney Ladd Erickson is still confident good things are right around the corner for the employees of the power plant and adjacent coal mine. That goal might have been a little premature, but he’s still optimistic a plan to not only save the power plant situated between Underwood and Washburn, but expand upon it, is going to be a reality.
Since last spring’s announcement that Great River Energy would be shuttering the coal-fired power plant, Erickson has been joined by people in the energy industry and political arena in efforts to keep the power plant operational beyond its fall 2022-announced closure. 
Recent discussions between GRE and prospective new owners of the power plant are making it look like the plant and mine not only have several more years of operation ahead of them, but that McLean County and North Dakota could soon be leaders in the tech industry, developing new technologies and creating an “energy park” that centers around Coal Creek Station. 
Coal Creek Station is already working on carbon capture and other technologies on the horizon include the development of electricity storage, as well as the utilization of rare earth metals that are used in technology.
Erickson can’t say it’s a “done deal” yet because there are still a lot of wheels in motion, but he is optimistic an announcement will be made soon regarding the power plant. He expects that announcement to be a positive for not only McLean County, but Mercer, Sheridan and Oliver counties as well.
“They have a lot of interesting plans for us,” said Erickson, regarding the potential buyers, of which there are multiple.

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