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Montana-Dakota plans to close three aging coal-powered plants

Staff Writer |
MDU Resources Group subsidiary Montana-Dakota Utilities announced that it intends to retire three aging coal-fired electric generation units at two locations within the next two to three years.

The analysis done while preparing the integrated resource plan (IRP), which the company puts together every two years and files with regulatory commissions, points to the retirement of two aging coal-fired plants and the construction of the natural gas combustion turbine.

Low-cost power available on the market, due to low-cost natural gas and increasing wind resources, as well as rising costs to operate these facilities, led to the decision to retire the coal plants.

The retirements are expected around the end of 2020 for Lewis & Clark Station in Sidney, Montana, and around the end of 2021 for units 1 and 2 at Heskett Station in Mandan, North Dakota.

These dates may be impacted by the company’s coal supplier’s pending bankruptcy proceeding.

The company has begun the development process to construct an 88-megawatt simple-cycle peaking unit at the Heskett Station site, and anticipates submitting an advance determination of prudence request with the North Dakota Public Service Commission this fall.

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