Milton R. Young Station

From Global Energy Monitor

Milton R. Young Station is a 734.0-megawatt (MW) lignite coal-fired power station operated by Minnkota Power Cooperative near Center, North Dakota.


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Plant Data

Unit 2

Unit 2 of the Milton R. Young Station is owned by the Square Butte Electric Cooperative, a cooperative owned by the same cooperatives that own the Minnkota Power Cooperative. During the first 7 years of operation the total output of unit 2 was sold to Minnesota Power. From 1985 to 2005 Minnesota power bought 71% and the remaining 29% was sold to the Minnkota Power Cooperative. In 2006 Minnkota exercised additional energy purchase options changing the ratio to 50/50% between Missesota and Minnkota. Under a seperate agreement Minnkota purchases another 29% from Minnesota Power.[4]

Minnkota Power Cooperative and Square Butte Electric Cooperative

On April 24, 2006 the Department of Justice and the U.S. EPA announced a settlement of a case alleging violations of the New Source Review (NSR) provisions of the Clean Air Act requiring Minnkota Power Cooperative and Square Butte Electric Cooperative (both member-owned rural utilities) to reduce emissions of two harmful pollutants by more than 33,000 tons annually.

The plants will be reducing emissions of about 23,600 tons of sulfur dioxide (SO2) and 9,400 tons of nitrogen oxide (NOx) per year from the coal-fired Milton R. Young Station in North Dakota. This was the first NSR settlement with a power plant in the Western U.S. The settlement and the pollution control upgrades are estimated to cost the company $100 million. In 2005, the Milton R. Young Station was the second largest emitter of NOx pollution in the entire country. The settlement states that the utilities will install a new SO2 pollution flue gas desulfurization device (scrubber) to reduce SO2 emissions by at least 90 percent as well as an upgrade on an existing scrubber. Additionally, NOx reduction systems will be installed, with work beginning in 2007 and ending in 2011.

Both utilities will also fund $5 million in renewable energy projects such as wind power in North Dakota and Minnesota.[5]

In May 2022, Minnkota Power Cooperative received approval for a $100 million loan to move forward with a carbon capture project at the plant.[6]


The power station is a partial provider of energy to the Core Scientific Grand Forks County facility, an operating 100 MW cryptocurrency mine located in Grand Forks County, North Dakota. The facility deals with both Nodak Electric Cooperative and Minnkota Power Cooperative.[7][8]

Emissions Data

  • 2006 CO2 Emissions: 5,862,979 tons
  • 2006 SO2 Emissions: 26,879 tons
  • 2006 SO2 Emissions per MWh:
  • 2006 NOx Emissions: 21,924 tons
  • 2005 Mercury Emissions: 502 lb.

Death and disease attributable to fine particle pollution from Milton R Young Station

In 2010, Abt Associates issued a study commissioned by the Clean Air Task Force, a nonprofit research and advocacy organization, quantifying the deaths and other health effects attributable to fine particle pollution from coal-fired power plants.[9] The study found that over 13,000 deaths and tens of thousands of cases of chronic bronchitis, acute bronchitis, asthma-related episodes and asthma-related emergency room visits, congestive heart failure, acute myocardial infarction, dysrhythmia, ischemic heart disease, chronic lung disease, peneumonia each year are attributable to fine particle pollution from U.S. coal-fired power plants. Fine particle pollution is formed from a combination of soot, acid droplets, and metals formed from sulfur dioxide, nitrogen oxide, and soot. Among those particles, the most dangerous are the smallest (smaller than 2.5 microns), which are so tiny that they can evade the lung's natural defenses, enter the bloodstream, and be transported to vital organs. Impacts are especially severe among the elderly children, and those with respiratory disease. Low-income and minority populations are disproportionately impacted as well, due to the tendency of companies to avoid locating power plants upwind of affluent communities. The table below estimates the death and illness attributable to Milton R. Young Station. Abt assigned a value of $7,300,000 to each 2010 mortality, based on a range of government and private studies. Valuations of illnesses ranged from $52 for an asthma episode to $440,000 for a case of chronic bronchitis.[10]

Table 1: Death and disease attributable to fine particle pollution from the Milton R. Young Station

Type of Impact Annual Incidence Valuation
Deaths 37 $270,000,000
Heart attacks 58 $6,300,000
Asthma attacks 630 $33,000
Hospital admissions 27 $630,000
Chronic bronchitis 23 $10,000,000
Asthma ER visits 38 $14,000

Source: "Find Your Risk from Power Plant Pollution," Clean Air Task Force interactive table, accessed February 2011

Milton R. Young Station ranked 37th on list of most polluting power plants in terms of coal waste

In January 2009, Sue Sturgis of the Institute of Southern Studies compiled a list of the 100 most polluting coal plants in the United States in terms of coal combustion waste (CCW) stored in surface impoundments like the one involved in the TVA Kingston Fossil Plant coal ash spill.[11] The data came from the EPA's Toxics Release Inventory (TRI) for 2006, the most recent year available.[12]

Milton R. Young Station ranked number 37 on the list, with 1,036,290 pounds of coal combustion waste released to surface impoundments in 2006.[11]

Articles and Resources


  1. "Milton R. Young Station", accessed June 2020
  2. "Square Butte Electric Cooperative", accessed June 2020.
  3. "EIA 923 March 2020" EIA 923 2020.
  4. "2018 annual report Square Butte Electric Cooperative"] accessed June 2020.
  5. "North Dakota Region Citizens to Breathe Cleaner Air in $100 Million NSR Power Plant Settlement," U.S. EPA, April, 24 2006
  6. "Project Tundra receives $100 million loan from state of North Dakota," Project Tundra, May 24, 2022
  7. "The Right Energy Mix". Nodak Electric. March 28, 2017. Retrieved June 21, 2022.
  8. "About Us". Minnkota Power Cooperative. Retrieved June 21, 2022.
  9. "The Toll from Coal: An Updated Assessment of Death and Disease from America's Dirtiest Energy Source," Clean Air Task Force, September 2010.
  10. "Technical Support Document for the Powerplant Impact Estimator Software Tool," Prepared for the Clean Air Task Force by Abt Associates, July 2010
  11. 11.0 11.1 Sue Sturgis, "Coal's ticking timebomb: Could disaster strike a coal ash dump near you?," Institute for Southern Studies, January 4, 2009.
  12. TRI Explorer, EPA, accessed January 2009.

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