50-year-old North Dakota power plant closes

BEULAH, N.D. (AP) " Great River Energy has closed a 50-year-old coal-fired power plant in Mercer County.

The Minnesota-based company said in July it would shutter the plant rather than move forward with expensive upgrades. Last week, the plant's control panel and power was disconnected from the power grid for the final time, the Bismarck Tribune (http://bit.ly/2mGpBOm ) reported.

Steve Richter, who leads fuels and materials services for the company's North Dakota operations, said he called for a moment of silence in the control room to honor all of the men and women who had pioneered large-scale lignite energy production and those who worked at the plant throughout the years since.

"I thanked them all for the dedication," he said.

Fifty-five of 68 employees and specialty contractors remain at the plant. They'll clean and strip the facility down to mortar and steel for its final decommissioning May 1.

Some of the remaining employees will retire, while another 28 are moving to other GRE facilities. A few remaining employees will be left to seek employment.

Wade Aanderud, leader of plant operations, said the last moment of operations was always scheduled to occur sometime before March 1.

John Weeda, GRE's director of generation and decommissioning coordinator, said the station will be demolished. He said demolition is expected to begin in 2018.

"We don't want it to be a nuisance," Weeda said.

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Information from: Bismarck Tribune, http://www.bismarcktribune.com

This story has been automatically published from the Associated Press wire which uses US spellings

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