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Great River Energy

Great River Energy is a generation and transmission cooperative that provides reliable, competitive and environmentally friendly electricity to about 1.7 million people. Although all of the cooperative's customers are primarily in Minnesota and northwest Wisconsin, the company has three power plants located in North Dakota for two primary reasons: North Dakota's ample energy sources and its business friendly environment.

GREfinalprintad.jpgAlthough Great River Energy generates electricity from multiple sources, including renewables such as wind and biomass, a majority of the company's 2,650 megawatts of electricity come from coal-based power plants. According to Al Christianson, the company's North Dakota Manager of Business Development and Government Affairs, the company is committed to generating power in an environmentally-friendly manner.

"We are trying to take every ounce of energy out of our coal by using new technologies such as DryFiningTM to improve power plant efficiencies and reduce emissions, and by utilizing by-products from the process," Christianson says. This is being done, in part, through the development of an energy park concept. For example, the newly constructed Spiritwood Station, a combined heat and power plant, will use DryFine (a refined lignite product), and also provide steam to users adjacent to the plant. "The energy park concept is very exciting," Christianson explains, "because you don't have to build a billion dollar power plant to have a project that's very economical and very good for our members."

Christianson cites North Dakota's pro-business culture as a key ingredient to the company's success. When the company was exploring a new energy development project, the North Dakota Department of Commerce assembled a team from various state agencies to review the project and to discuss how they could assist in its success. "We had meetings with the Bank of North Dakota, the tax commissioner, Job Service and the Secretary of State to review programs available through the state," Christianson says.

Great River Energy has received a high level of support from the state of North Dakota, according to Christianson. "North Dakota is such a great state, from the Governor on down, because they ask how they can help with a project. It's the North Dakota spirit, the North Dakota way."

To learn more about doing business better in North Dakota visit www.NDBusiness.com.
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