How Coal is Used

  • About 30 million tons of lignite coal are mined each year in North Dakota.
    • North Dakota lignite is used in the following ways:
      • About 79 percent – generating electricity.
      • 13.5 percent – creating synthetic natural gas;
      • 7.5 percent – producing fertilizer products
  • In order to save money on transportation costs, North Dakota lignite used for electricity generation goes to mine-mouth plants.
Coal Creek Station
Coal Creek Station: Coal Creek Station is the largest power plant in North Dakota, produces about 1,141 megawatts of power. One megawatt hour can provide one hour of electricity to approximately 800 homes. Photo courtesy of Rainbow Energy.
  • The following power plants generate electricity from North Dakota or Montana lignite coal (electric companies are in parentheses):
    • Coal Creek Station (Great River Energy) – Underwood
    • Antelope Valley Station (Basin Electric) – Beulah
    • Coyote Station (Otter Tail Power Company) – Beulah
    • Leland Olds Station (Basin Electric) – Stanton
    • Milton R. Young Station (Minnkota Power Cooperative) – Center
    • Spiritwood Station (Great River Energy) – Spiritwood
      • This is a combined heat and power plant, in which the steam created to generate electricity, will also be used to provide steam at a nearby malting plant and an ethanol plant.
      • The lignite used at this station has been upgraded using a technique called “Dry-Fining™ Fuel Enhancement Process,” which was developed by Great River Energy.