Hoeven Outlines North Dakota’s Innovative Energy R&D for Secretary Perry, Highlights Opportunities Like Project Tundra & Allam Cycle to Advance Nation’s Energy Security

Senator Hosts Energy Secretary in North Dakota, Working to Advance State’s Energy Priorities & CCS Technologies

BISMARCK, N.D. – Senator John Hoeven, a member of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee and Energy and Water Appropriations Committee, today hosted Energy Secretary Rick Perry for tours of the Falkirk Mine and Great River Energy’s (GRE) Coal Creek Station and a roundtable with the state’s energy leaders. Throughout the event, the senator stressed how the state’s implementation of innovative technologies are helping to produce more energy at a lower cost and with better environmental stewardship. For instance, the Coal Creek Station employs its DryFining technology to improve efficiency and reduce emissions of sulfur dioxide, mercury and carbon dioxide (CO2), saving the facility $20 million annually. Further, the waste steam from the coal station is used to produce over 70 million gallons of ethanol each year, using 23 million bushels of North Dakota corn.

Hoeven invited Perry for the visit during his confirmation process last year so he could learn firsthand about breakthrough energy developments occurring in the state. The visit also presented an opportunity to outline how the Department of Energy can better partner in these efforts, including two project’s being undertaken by the University of North Dakota’s (UND) Energy and Environmental Research Center (EERC) – 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 CO2 to increase efficiency and allow emissions to be captured.

“Our state is truly a leader in energy innovation and development,” Hoeven said. “Our implementation of new technologies has allowed us to be an important force in advancing our nation’s energy security through our production of both traditional and renewable energy. We appreciate Secretary Perry for accepting our invitation to learn about this important work firsthand and to strengthen DOE’s partnership with our energy researchers. This will help ensure we can continue to provide affordable and reliable energy, while also improving environmental stewardship, and it’s why we are also working through the Energy and Water Appropriations Committee to support efforts like Project Tundra and the Allam Cycle.” 

Hoeven has worked consistently with Perry since his confirmation to advance North Dakota’s energy priorities. The senator recently reaffirmed Perry’s commitment to support the Department of Energy’s (DOE) cooperative agreements with research organizations like the EERC as well as the DOE’s Fossil Energy Research programs. To this end, Hoeven secured the following priorities in the Fiscal Year (FY) 2019 funding legislation:

  • $30 million for a new competitive grant to support the development of commercial-scale carbon capture technology to be retrofitted on an existing power plant. The next phase of Project Tundra would be eligible for funding.
  • $25 million to develop supercritical CO2 technologies for coal and natural gas plants like the Allam Cycle.
  • Increased funding for DOE’s carbon capture and carbon storage research programs.
  • A Hoeven-sponsored provision supporting DOE’s cooperative agreements with institutions like the EERC in Grand Forks. 
  • Hoeven-authored language reiterating the importance of commercial-scale technologies like Project Tundra as well as the development and deployment of breakthrough technologies. The bill also encourages the DOE to pursue an aggressive timeline to develop advanced carbon storage, utilization and enhanced oil recovery technologies.
  • As chairman of the Senate Agriculture Appropriations Committee, Hoeven also included language to make Project Tundra and Allam Cycle eligible for the Rural Utilities Service Electric Loan Program.

Project Tundra is being developed by Allete Clean Energy, Minnkota Power and BNI Coal in partnership with the EERC. The Allam Cycle is being developed by EERC, Basin Electric and Allete Inc. 

These funding provisions dovetail with Hoeven’s efforts to support the development of carbon capture and sequestration (CCS) technologies and forge a true path forward for coal in the nation’s energy mix. To this end, Hoeven is advancing his CO2 Regulatory Certainty Act, legislation that aligns tax guidelines with existing federal regulations at the EPA to ensure CCS project developers can use the Section 45Q tax credit, as well as his legislation to extend the refined coal tax credit.

Hoeven also recently secured the final approval for North Dakota’s regulatory primacy over Class VI injection wells, which are used for the geologic, long-term storage of CO2. This is the first such approval in the nation and will help advance CCS projects across the state. Hoeven has led this effort since establishing the North Dakota CO2 Storage Workgroup in 2008 and has continued to advance the state’s application with the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) throughout his time in the Senate, having secured a proposed rule to grant the authority last year.