Brand new power plant is idled by the economy

  • Article by: DAVID SHAFFER , Star Tribune
  • Updated: January 9, 2012 - 10:59 AM

Coal-fired Spiritwood Station was built to serve electric co-ops. But it's turned into a money drain.

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aspartzNov. 28, 11 9:18 PM

I'm sure GRE could have sold the power to people in MN if the left would have allowed it. Instead we are forced to pay higher rates for "green" energy.

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miracleman1Nov. 28, 11 9:42 PM

Lets be honest GRE is being run by a CEO who doesnt have a clue and about 25-30 directors whose average age is close to 80. They should all be replaced. Oh and by the way, GREs credit rating is about to be downgraded. Need any more proof.

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radseniorNov. 28, 11 9:51 PM

Texas regulators knew well in advance and informed managers at Sprintwood Station of the federal regulations that needed to be complied with and they failed to follow the rules. They failed to follow the rules imposed by federal regulators at the request of the Governor of Texas and Attorney General, as they were going to sue the federal government over these new regulations. Coal fired electric plants are not as clean as purported in TV commercials and greenhouse gasses would not be confined just to Texas skies. So many people knew this, even I know regulations should have been followed. Kinda wasted time and money by narrow-minded instigators. This is what you get in a one party state where the elite make pledges to puppeteers.

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atlaskleinNov. 28, 11 9:59 PM

I find it funny when you have a run-away non profit like GRE spending with absolutely NO accountability! What great job security...I would love to overpay by $200 Million dollars on a project and still be employed. I suppose, when you are controlled by a bunch of coop dopes, you can just charge all the country bumpkins and farmers for all you screw ups and blame it on the economy or some other poor excuse, instead of terrible decision making. At least GRE has their multi-million dollar Energy Taj-Mahal in Maple Grove to make bad decisions in...ridiculous.

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cnwilliNov. 28, 11 9:59 PM

one word "coal". Obama and his environmentalist extremist campaign backers have waged war against coal.

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Wally_99Nov. 28, 1110:52 PM

Hey Brad, I guess market-discipline is a sucky proposition to those who love "green", isn't it....

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notaxmaxNov. 28, 1110:56 PM

They mention GRE in the wind sector. I have some info on Texas wind OUTPUT, the little known thing wind energy pushers like GRE don't tell you. Texas wind output for 2010 was 8.7% of Megawatt nameplate rating. That means that 9,400 megawatts of wind power (9,400 - 1 Megawatt wind mills) produced about 800 Megawatts of power, or about half the generation of the coal fired Becker plant. To make matters worse, they now want an extra $4 on every monthly electric bill to run lines from west Texas to the population centers. Seems they lose about 30% of the 800 MW because of grid limitations and up and down ramping. Wind energy is a farce, it is a scam being played out on gullible ratepayers and the biggest co-conspirators are the power companies. remember, they make money as a regulated percentage, the more they can charge you the more they like it.

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mrinsideNov. 29, 1112:20 AM

Great River is a coop who simply buys and sells. It gouges customers. Maybe there are parties in ND who could see the benefit of a plant and provide electricty to the booming economy in ND. See a Star Tribune article about the boom in the Oil Fields. New housing at premium.

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farmeretteNov. 29, 11 8:13 AM

From the time the Rural Electrification Administration (REA) came into being in the 1930's until he was in his 60's (not 80's), my dad was involved with the electric co-ops (not coops). The REA was formed to provide electricity to rural areas, areas the for-profit power companies refused to serve. Dad recruited fellow farmers to join, served as a director for a co-op in southern Minnesota and as a founding director of the Cooperative Power Association, now known as Great River Energy. His work was voluntary; he was reimbursed for mileage. Directors are elected by, and accountable to, their members. A rational person reading the above article would conclude that Great River Energy was, like many individuals and businesses, the victim of economic forces not of its own making. I take umbrage at the ignorant, mean-spirited rantings of some of the commenters.

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samiamNov. 29, 11 8:17 AM

These electric cooperatives are relics from the 1930's and should be taken over by the larger power companies. We paid twice as much for co-op power as our neighbor 1/4 mile away who had Minnesota Power. MP also had superior service when there was an outage. There was no benefit to being a "member" No profit sharing or stock. just a large fee to turn on the power and higher rates.

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