Hoeven: Coal Creek Receives Approval for Transmission Line Permit Transfer, Allowing Sale to Rainbow Energy to be Finalized

Senator Working to Advance CCUS Project at Coal Creek, Which is a Key Part of the Sale

WASHINGTON – Senator John Hoeven, a member of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, today issued the following statement after the Minnesota Public Utility Commission approved the transfer of Coal Creek Station’s high-voltage direct current (HVDC) transmission line permit to Nexus Line, LLC, a subsidiary of Rainbow Energy. This marks the completion of the last major regulatory hurdle required for the sale of Coal Creek Station to Rainbow Energy to move forward.

Hoeven has been working with Great River Energy, Rainbow Energy, North American Coal and the state’s leadership to find a solution to keep the plant and adjacent Falkirk Mine in operation. This includes the senator’s efforts to crack the code on carbon capture, utilization and storage (CCUS), which is a key part of the sale. To this end, Hoeven worked:

  • As governor to create the regulatory framework for carbon storage in the state, starting with the North Dakota CO2 Storage Workgroup he established in 2008. Following this:
    • He advanced a bill through the state legislature to grant authority over carbon storage to the North Dakota Industrial Commission.
    • The state enacted legislation that granted ownership of the pore space to the owner of the overlying surface estate.
    • Then as a U.S. Senator, Hoeven secured approval of the state’s application for regulatory primacy over geologic storage of CO2 using Class VI wells. North Dakota is one of only two states to have this regulatory authority.
  • To get the 45Q carbon capture tax credit implemented in a way that provides a direct revenue stream to make CCUS projects more commercially-viable.
  • To fund critical loan guarantees from the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) and U.S. Department of Agriculture. 

“Today’s approval is a critical milestone in transferring ownership of Coal Creek to Rainbow Energy, which will help ensure this facility continues to provide affordable and reliable energy to the region, while supporting good-paying jobs at both the station and the Falkirk mine,” said Hoeven “Moreover, Rainbow Energy’s investment in Coal Creek provides an important opportunity to expand North Dakota’s leadership in CCUS, as we continue working to bring this technology to the station. Projects like this are key to our nation’s energy security and are possible due to more than a decade of effort to create the right kind of legal, tax and regulatory environment.”

Securing the 45Q Tax Credit

The 45Q tax credit provides an important revenue stream for CCUS projects of up to $50 per ton for CO2 permanently stored, or up to $35 per ton for CO2 stored and used for enhanced oil recovery. After helping pass legislation to reform and expand the 45Q tax credit, Hoeven worked to advance its implementation. His efforts included: 

  • Working closely with the Trump administration to move the final 45Q regulations forward.
  • Passing legislation providing a two-year extension of the construction deadline for the 45Q tax credit.

Cracking the Code on CCUS

Moving forward, Hoeven is advancing the following priorities to crack the code on CCUS, which will enable the nation to continue making use of its abundant energy resources, while reducing emissions: 

  • Front end investment in technology development, including bolstering the partnership between DOE and the University of North Dakota’s Energy & Environmental Research Center (EERC).
  • Loan guarantees to help project developers secure financing to build the equipment and infrastructure needed to capture and store CO2.
  • Enhancements for the 45Q and 48A Advanced Coal tax credits to provide important revenue streams to project developers and encourage adoption of CCUS:
    • Sponsored legislation to modernize the 48A tax credit for CO2 capture retrofit projects.
    • Helped introduce a bipartisan bill to provide a direct payment option for the 45Q and 48A CCUS tax incentives.
    • Joined legislation to increase the value of the 45Q tax credit and make it more accessible to CCUS projects of all sizes.