Hoeven Outlines Need to Crack the Code on CCUS to Maintain Access to Affordable, Reliable Baseload Power

Senator Introduces Minnkota Power President & CEO at Senate Energy Committee Hearing

WASHINGTON – At a hearing of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee’s Subcommittee on Energy this week, Senator John Hoeven, ranking member of the subcommittee, introduced Mac McLennan, President and CEO of Minnkota Power Cooperative, and stressed the importance of carbon capture, utilization and storage (CCUS) technologies, like Project Tundra, in maintaining the nation’s access to affordable and reliable baseload power. In particular, the senator outlined efforts to crack the code on CCUS and make the technology commercially-viable to support its widespread implementation, helping reduce emissions while ensuring the U.S. remains a global energy powerhouse. 

“Project Tundra is at the forefront of our efforts to crack the code on CCUS, and we appreciate Mac’s willingness to speak with the Senate Energy Committee this week to stress the importance of this technology,” said Senator Hoeven. “CCUS will enable our country to continue producing more energy from all of our abundant resources with better environmental stewardship, strengthening our economic and national security. The need for this technology has been made clear by extreme weather events that have strained the reliability of our electric grid in recent years. That’s why we’ve worked hard to make North Dakota the proving ground for CCUS, and we continue working to enhance the tools available to project developers like Minnkota Power to make this technology commercially-viable.”

“Thank you to Senator Hoeven for the opportunity to speak with members of the Senate Energy Committee on the importance of ensuring rural and low-income communities have access to dependable, affordable and clean electricity. It is crucial that our nation learns lessons from recent grid challenges and that we prioritize reliability and resiliency while pursuing ambitious environmental goals. Creating a policy and regulatory framework that supports the development and commercialization of carbon capture technology can help the United States and the world make meaningful progress toward a better and more sustainable energy future,” said Mac McLennan, President and CEO of Minnkota Power.

Accordingly, Hoeven is working to advance: 

  • Front end investment in technology development, including bolstering the partnership between the Department of Energy (DOE) and the University of North Dakota’s Energy & Environmental Research Center (EERC) in support of efforts like Project Tundra.
    • Hoeven has helped secure $43 million in federal funding for Project Tundra to date.
  • Loan guarantees to help project developers secure financing to build the equipment and infrastructure needed to capture and store CO2.
    • Hoeven included funding in the Fiscal Year (FY) 2021 appropriations legislation for critical loan guarantee programs at DOE and the Rural Utilities Service (RUS).
    • These programs dovetail with legislation recently reintroduced by Senators Hoeven and Tina Smith (D-Minn.) to allow rural electric cooperatives and telecommunications providers to refinance their RUS debt at lower interest rates, enabling them to better invest in rural communities and pass savings on to customers.
  • Enhancements for the 45Q and 48A Advanced Coal tax credits to provide important revenue streams to project developers and encourage adoption of CCUS.
    • Hoeven is sponsoring legislation to modernize the 48A tax credit for CO2 capture retrofit projects and helped introduce a bipartisan bill to provide a direct payment option for the 45Q and 48A CCUS tax incentives.
    • These enhancements would enable cooperatives like Minnkota Power to better access these tax incentives and provide certainty to the developers of CCUS projects.

Hoeven also highlighted these priorities in a Senate Energy and Water Appropriations Committee hearing with Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm this week. The senator previously secured a commitment from Granholm to visit North Dakota and learn more about Project Tundra firsthand.