Hoeven: GRE Takes Big Step Forward on Coal Creek Power Plant

Senator Working with GRE, North American Coal on Solution to Keep Coal Creek Operating

WASHINGTON – Senator John Hoeven, a member of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, today released the following statement after Great River Energy notified its employees that they are entering into formal negotiations to sell Coal Creek Station to a new operator, ensuring its operation beyond 2022. Hoeven has been working with the company to help make it happen and to advance carbon capture and sequestration efforts.

“Coal Creek Station is one of the most efficient power plants in our region, and the employees at both the plant and the Falkirk Mine help keep the lights on with affordable and reliable power. That’s why we have been working over the past year with Great River Energy, North American Coal and our state’s leadership to transition Coal Creek to new ownership, this is a big step and we hope it will be finalized soon.

“At the same time, Coal Creek presents yet another opportunity for North Dakota to crack the code on carbon capture technologies, allowing us to continue utilizing our abundant coal resources while reducing emissions. We continue working to advance these technologies, including enhancing the 45Q tax credit to provide a new revenue stream benefiting our coal-fired generation facilities,” said Hoeven.

Cracking the Code on CCUS

Hoeven also continues efforts to crack the code on carbon capture, utilization and storage (CCUS) technologies to help produce more energy from coal-fired electric. That includes:  

  • Getting the 45Q tax credit implemented in a way that makes CCUS projects more commercially-viable. To this end, Hoeven recently:
    • Helped secure the final 45Q regulations. The senator worked closely with the Trump administration to move the final regulations forward.
    • Passed legislation providing a two-year extension on the construction deadline for the 45Q tax credit.
  • Securing funding in the Fiscal Year 2021 appropriations legislation for critical loan guarantee programs at both the Department of Energy and the Department of Agriculture’s Rural Utility Service to help CCUS project developers secure financing.
    • This aligns with bipartisan, bicameral legislation Hoeven recently helped introduce to provide flexible, low-interest loans and grants to support construction of the infrastructure needed to implement CCUS technologies, like pipelines to transport CO2.
  • Prioritizing enhancements for the 45Q and 48A Advanced Coal tax credits in order to further support coal producers and CCUS development.
    • This includes the senator’s Carbon Capture Modernization Act, bipartisan legislation to modernize the 48A tax credit for clean coal facilities to better support CO2 capture retrofit projects.
    • Hoeven also helped introduce bipartisan legislation provide a direct payment option for the 45Q and 48A CCUS tax incentives.
  • Bolstering the Department of Energy’s partnership with the University of North Dakota’s Energy & Environmental Research Center (EERC) in support of their efforts to develop and commercialize new energy technologies, like Project Tundra.
    • Hoeven has helped secure $43 million in federal funding for Project Tundra to date.

Fair Value for Coal

Additionally, Hoeven has been working to ensure coal’s role as a reliable source of baseload power is properly valued. That includes making the case to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) that the grid is being forced away from baseload resources like coal and outlining the need to maintain diverse sources of electricity.