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SMMPA votes to sell off coal from Austin plant

The approximately 30,000-ton coal stockpile at Austin's northeast power plant is up for sale.

The board of directors for the Southern Minnesota Municipal Power Agency, which owns the plant and the coal, voted Wednesday to sell the coal before turning ownership of the plant over to Austin Utilities Sept. 1 when the Capacity Purchase Agreement ends.

According to the agreement, however, AU has first right of first refusal and is considering purchasing the coal from SMMPA.

At this point, the utility is running the numbers to determine if purchasing the coal stockpile from SMMPA would be an economic benefit for Austin, said Alex Bumgardner, AU's power production director.

The coal, which is on site at the Northeast Plant, is enough to run the plant for 100 to 200 days, depending on demand, Bumgardner said. The utility is under contract with SMMPA to purchase power from the agency for the Austin area until 2030. Under its power sales agreement, however, AU can sell the power from the plant on the market.

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