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Utility shutters recently-completed coal plant

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news Mitchell, 57301
Mitchell South Dakota 120 South Lawler 57301

MAPLE GROVE, Minn. (AP) -- A Minnesota cooperative recently spent $437 million to build a coal-burning power plant in North Dakota. Now it plans to shut it down.

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Great River Energy, of Maple Grove, says a combination of factors caused it to reconsider running the plant, about 85 miles west of Fargo, N.D. Electrical demand has slowed, prices for power supplied to the grid have declined and a key industrial customer was lost. Executives say that will keep the plant off-line until 2013, or longer.

Great River Energy is owned by 28 Minnesota electric cooperatives. Vice president Rick Lancaster tells the media that the cooperative has budgeted $30 million next year to maintain the plant.

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