First recorded use: Lewis & Clark conduct test burn of lignite.
First commercial mine opens in Morton County: Lt. Col. George Armstrong and troops accompany provide protection for early miners.
A total of 73 underground mines operating.
The Washburn Company's underground coal mine near Wilton is the largest in the state.
North Dakota boasts 12 surface mines and 104 underground mines. By 1930, surface mines surpassed the number of underground mines due to increased productivity and safety.
Otter Tail Power constructs Washburn power plant.
The Truax-Traer Coal Company became the largest coal producer in the state with mines at Kincaid, Velva and Wilton.
Number of mines declines from a high of 320 in 1940 to 296 in 1941 (more than half of remaining mines are surface mines).
Lignite production reaches 3.2 million tons before declining to 2.3 million tons in 1958.
William J. Neal Station begins operating at Velva (acquired by Basin Electric in 1973 - plant placed on ready-reserve in 1985 and dismantled in 1999-2000).
MDU opens R.M. Heskett power plant at Mandan; second unit added in 1963.
Basin Electric opens first major lignite-fired generating plant (Leland Olds Station) at Stanton.
United Power Association finishes construction on the lignite-fired Stanton Station in Stanton.
Minnkota Power Cooperative completes first unit of Milton Young Station at Center.
Lignite Energy Council formed.
Leland Olds Unit 2 in service at Stanton.
Young Station Unit 2 in service at Center.
Coal Creek Station Unit 1 in service at Underwood.
Coyote Station in service at Beulah; Coal Creek Station Unit 2 in service at Underwood.
Antelope Valley Station Unit 1 & Great Plains Synfuels Plant in operation at Beulah.
Antelope Valley Station Unit 2 in service at Beulah.
Lignite Energy Council hosts first teacher's seminar.
ND Gov. Sinner creates Lignite Research Council.
Clean Air Act Amendments passed to reduce Acid Rain.
Lignite production reaches all-time high of 32.2 million tons.
Knife River Coal Company closes its Gascoyne Mine near Bowman, ND.
Great River Energy formed through the merger of Cooperative Power Association and United Power Association.
Westmoreland Coal Company buys the Beulah and Savage Mines from Knife River Corporation.
BNI Coal, Ltd. commissions its $38 million dragline, "Liberty".
Lignite production in North Dakota at 30.3 million tons, marking the eighth consecutive year of more than 30 million tons of lignite produced.
Blue Flint Ethanol commissioned using waste heat from Coal Creek Station.
Open house held at Coal Creek Station for Great River Energy’s patented DryFining coal enhancement system. The DryFining project along with new scrubbers at Leland Olds Station and the Milton R. Young Station represent a billion dollar investment by the three generation and transmission cooperatives (Great River Energy, Basin Electric Power Cooperative and Minnkota Power Cooperative) to upgrade environmental systems at existing power plants.
Great River Energy commissions Spiritwood Station near Jamestown, ND; expects to begin producing power in late 2014.
Spiritwood Station east of Jamestown becomes operational on November 1, 2014. The dual fuel, heat and power plant is fueled by beneficiated lignite as well as natural gas.
In June, the Coyote Creek Mine began selling coal to the adjacent Coyote Station. The mine is a subsidiary of North American Coal Corporation that owns two sister mines in North Dakota – the Freedom and Falkirk Mines.
Over a span of a couple of years, North Dakota’s fleet of power plants installs technology to capture minute amounts of mercury from flue gases. The technology is developed by the Energy & Environmental Research Center through the Lignite Research Council.
Dakota Gasification Company completes a three-year, $740 million urea plant at the Great Plains Synfuels Plant. With the addition, DGC now sells three nitrogen-based fertilizers – urea, anhydrous ammonia and ammonia sulfate. The plant also receives a majority of its revenues from the sale of fertilizer.
EPA replaces the Clean Power Plan with the Affordable Clean Energy (ACE) rule in June.