Hoeven Presses FERC to Fairly Value Coal, Account for Baseload Capacity and 24/7 Reliability

WASHINGTON – Senator John Hoeven, a member of the Energy and Natural Resources Committee, this week met with Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) Chairman Neil Chatterjee to continue to urge that coal be fairly valued given its reliability as a baseload power source that is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week. The senator stressed that the grid is being forced away from this fuel due to subsidies and state-level mandates that are impeding markets’ ability to properly price for the benefits provided by coal-generated electricity. Hoeven outlined the need to maintain diverse sources of power in order to maintain the reliability of the nation’s electrical grid.

“I met with the chairman of FERC to again make the case that coal needs to be valued fairly,” said Hoeven. “Lignite is ‘always on,’ providing baseload power to the grid and ensuring access to electricity when it is needed most, such as during extreme cold. North Dakota’s coal-fired power plants are critical to grid reliability and energy affordability in the Midwest. By properly valuing coal’s benefits, along with the regulatory relief we have provided at the federal level and the new technologies we are advancing, like Project Tundra, we can help ensure a strong future for this industry while reducing emissions and improving environmental stewardship, both here at home and abroad.”

In addition to these ongoing efforts, Hoeven has worked to support North Dakota’s lignite industry as well as the continued operation of its coal-fired power plants by:

  • Providing regulatory relief from burdensome federal rules.
    • Hoeven has supported the implementation of the Affordable Clean Energy (ACE) rule, which replaced the costly one-size-fits-all emissions regulations for coal power plants issued by the previous administration.
    • The senator also voted to uphold the ACE rule when a resolution to overturn it was brought up for consideration by the Senate in October.
  • Advancing carbon capture, utilization and storage (CCUS) technology, like Project Tundra, to support reduced emissions and greater energy production.
    • As a member of the Energy Appropriations Committee, Hoeven secured more than $30 million to help develop and commercialize Project Tundra in Fiscal Year (FY) 2020.
    • Project Tundra is a post-combustion technology to retrofit existing power plants being led by Minnkota Power, the University of North Dakota’s Energy and Environment Research Center (EERC), BNI Coal and Allete Clean Energy.
  • Modernizing the 48A and 45Q tax credits to help make CCUS projects more commercially-viable.
    • This month, the administration issued two pieces of key guidance on the implementation of the 45Q tax credit. Hoeven worked with the administration to advance this important step, which provides greater clarity to developers of CCUS projects and will enable them to begin moving forward with financial arrangements and construction plans. Hoeven continues to urge the Department of the Treasury to issue the third and final piece of the 45Q rules as soon as possible.
    • The senator is sponsoring bipartisan legislation to update the eligibility standards for the 48A tax credit, which are not currently technically or economically feasible for CCUS retrofit projects.