North Dakota’s largest power plant will continue operations under local ownership. Rainbow Energy Center LLC has reached an agreement to purchase Coal Creek Station from Great River Energy (GRE) and operate the 1,151-megawatt (MW) power plant using current plant employees.

Rainbow Energy Center said it plans to focus on baseload energy from Coal Creek Station with carbon capture and incremental generation from renewables to fully utilize the capacity of the HVDC transmission system.

“Carbon capture and storage is vital to continued operation of Coal Creek Station and will be an important step toward Gov. Doug Burgum’s goal for the state to reach carbon neutrality by 2030,” Rainbow Energy Marketing President Stacy L. Tschider said.

North American Coal Co. (NACCO), which owns Falkirk Mining, entered into a new coal sales agreement with Rainbow Energy Center. The company operates the Falkirk mine, which supplies 7 million tons per year of lignite to Coal Creek Station.

Upon completion of the sale, Falkirk and GRE will enter into a termination and release of claims agreement, under which GRE will pay Falkirk $14 million in cash, as well as transfer ownership of an office building located in Bismarck, and convey membership units in Midwest AgEnergy to another NACCO susidiary. NACCO currently owns a small stake in Midwest AgEnergy, which operates two ethanol facilities in North Dakota.

Falkirk will be paid a management fee and Rainbow Energy will be responsible for funding all mine operating costs and directly or indirectly providing all of the capital required to operate the mine. Falkirk will perform final mine reclamation, which will be funded in its entirety by Rainbow Energy. The initial production period is expected to run 10 years.

If Rainbow Energy closes Coal Creek Station before 2027, Falkirk will be entitled to an additional payment from GRE, which ranges from $8 million if the closure occurs before 2024 to $2 million if the closure occurs in 2026.