Hoeven Working to Strengthen Federal Support for North Dakota CCS Efforts, Make Technology Commercially-Viable

Senator Introduces UND EERC’s John Harju at Senate Energy Committee Hearing, Highlights CCS Benefits for Both Traditional & Renewable Energy

WASHINGTON, D.C. – At a hearing of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee this week, Senator John Hoeven outlined the need to strengthen federal support for the ongoing efforts in North Dakota to make carbon capture and sequestration (CCS) technology commercially-viable. As part of the hearing, the senator introduced John Harju, Vice President for Strategic Partnerships at the University of North Dakota’s (UND) Energy and Environmental Research Center (EERC), who testified on the organization’s work and the federal policies needed to implement CCS technologies for both traditional and renewable energy sources. The EERC’s efforts include:

  • Project Tundra, a post-combustion technology to retrofit existing power plants, being led by Minnkota Power, as well as BNI Coal and Allete Clean Energy.
  • 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. This project is being developed by EERC, Basin Electric and Allete Inc.
  • Efforts to capture CO2 from Red Trail Energy’s ethanol plant and securely store it in an underground injection well, allowing the facility to export to states with low carbon fuel standards. 

“Our state and energy industry are putting their money on the line to develop CCS technology, and we’re working to ensure the federal government is a strong partner in these efforts,” said Hoeven. “This is all about making CCS technologies, like Project Tundra, the Allam Cycle and the carbon capture at Red Trail’s ethanol plant, commercially-viable. The folks at EERC can make it technically work, but the economics of it also need to work if companies are going to implement this technology. That’s what our 48A and 45Q tax credit bills will help accomplish by giving companies with CCS projects a revenue stream that supports the cost of using the technology.”

“It was an honor to be asked to address the U.S. Senate’s Energy and Natural Resources Committee regarding Team EERC’s efforts to develop and deploy CCUS technology in conjunction with our partners,” said Harju. “Together, we are bringing this technology to commercial fruition. Particularly rewarding was having Senator Hoeven introduce me. His continued leadership for our state and our country is truly a blessing.”

Harju’s testimony aligns with Hoeven’s work to bolster the partnership between the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) and the EERC, as well as its partners, to develop and implement CCS technologies. This will benefit both traditional and renewable energy sources and enable greater energy production with fewer emissions. To this end, Hoeven is:

  • Advancing his Carbon Capture Modernization Act, bipartisan legislation to modernize the 48A tax credit for clean coal facilities to better support CO2 capture retrofit projects, like Project Tundra.
  • Working to reintroduce legislation to make the Section 45Q tax credit more accessible for CCS projects.
  • Cosponsoring legislation like the Enhancing Fossil Fuel Energy Carbon Technology (EFFECT) Act, which was introduced by Senators Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) and Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska). The bill would establish four new DOE programs focused on coal and natural gas technology, carbon storage, carbon utilization and carbon removal.  

Hoeven also serves as a member of the Energy and Water Development Appropriations Committee. Through this role, he secured strong funding for the following programs in the Fiscal Year (FY) 2019 appropriations legislation and will work to maintain similar funding in the coming years to benefit the EERC’s efforts:

  • The Regional Carbon Sequestration Partnership (RCSP) Initiative.
  • Front-End Engineering Design (FEED) Studies.
  • The Carbon Storage Assurance Facility Enterprise (CarbonSAFE) Initiative.