Hoeven Outlines Efforts to Develop Next-Gen Technologies for Coal-Fired Power Plants, Ensure Affordable & Reliable Energy Production

GRAND FORKS, N.D. – At the annual meeting for the Minnkota Power and Square Butte Electric Cooperatives today, Senator John Hoeven outlined his efforts to advance North Dakota’s leadership in developing the next generation of energy technologies, which will help the nation to continue to rely on all of its energy resources and ensure affordable and reliable energy production for families and businesses. Specifically, the senator highlighted Project Tundra, a post-combustion technology to retrofit existing power plants, and the Allam Cycle, technology for new coal and natural gas power plants that uses supercritical carbon dioxide (CO2) to increase efficiency and allow emissions to be captured. 

Last year, the senator worked as a member of the Senate Energy and Water Appropriations Committee to provide $6 million in Fiscal Year (FY) 2017 funding for the Energy and Environmental Research Center’s (EERC) Project Tundra. Hoeven has since secured FY2018 funding to help develop these technologies, including funding for Carbon Capture and Sequestration (CCS) Research & Development, as well as $35 million for Post-Combustion Coal Technologies like Project Tundra and $24 million to develop Supercritical CO2 Technologies like the Allam Cycle.

“Our electric cooperatives provide an essential service for our communities, both large and small,” Hoeven said. “Our cooperatives and their members need the certainty that the energy resources and power plants they rely on are going to be viable for years to come. That’s why it is so important that our state, through the EERC and their partners, is developing the technologies that will help us to produce more energy from our coal reserves while also improving environmental stewardship. We continue to invest in their efforts to develop, demonstrate and implement technologies like Project Tundra and the Allam Cycle.”

Project Tundra is being developed by Allete Clean Energy, Minnkota Power and BNI Coal in partnership with the Environmental Research Center (EERC) at the University of North Dakota (UND). The Allam Cycle is being developed by EERC, Basin Electric and Allete Inc. 

In addition, Hoeven is advancing his CO2 Regulatory Certainty Act, legislation that aligns tax guidelines with existing federal regulations at the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to ensure carbon capture and sequestration (CCS) project developers can use the Section 45Q tax credit. By accelerating work on CCS projects, this bill will help to provide one of the energy technologies needed to utilize America’s coal resources.  

Hoeven also secured regulatory primacy for North Dakota over Class VI injection wells, which are used for the geologic or long-term storage of CO2, the first such approval in the nation. This authority will help advance CCS projects across the state. The EPA’s public comment period for the proposed change closed last year, and Hoeven continues working with the agency to finalize the state’s application.

These efforts are further bolstered by Hoeven’s bill to extend the refined coal tax credit. The credit incentivizes power plants to pre-treat or refine coal to improve efficiency and decrease emissions of nitrogen oxide, sulfur dioxide and mercury.