According to an article in the Minneapolis Star Tribune, Great River Energy will close its very large North Dakota coal-fired power plant several years early.  Coal Creek Station, one of the biggest power plants in the Upper Midwest will close sometime in 2022.  This will effect some 260 workers.  The adjacent Falkirk mine owned by an independent coal company, has over 400 workers.

The North Dakota coal plant has been around for 40 years and is located near Underwood, North Dakota.  According to the article, those are some of the best paying jobs in the state and the region for that matter.  The power plant is a big part of Mclean County's economy.

So what's the driving force behind the closure?  According to Great River Energy, the company says its losing money.  The Maple Grove, MN company also added dramatic changes in electricity markets in recent years has made it difficult to be profitable.

U.S. coal plants according to the article are becoming less and less profitable due to the rise of of gas-fired power and renewable energy such as wind farms.

After the coal plants closures are complete, Great River Energy expects two-thirds of its electricity will come from wind turbines.  This is a dramatic change from when coal was much more profitable just a few short years ago.  Also in the article, Xcel Energy who serves much of Eastern North Dakota will close all four of it's coal plants in Minnesota between 2023 and and 2030.

I myself have several friends who work in the mines who live here in Bismarck Mandan. This will no doubt have a domino effect on our economy in Central and Western North Dakota.