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Department of Energy Awards $38 Million to Support Carbon Capture at Coal Creek Station in North Dakota


May 18, 2023 - The city of Underwood got some good news Wednesday as more than $30 million has been awarded to benefit the coal industry in North Dakota. North Dakota Senator John Hoeven says the U.S. Department of Energy gave the money to the University of North Dakota’s Energy and Environmental Research Center.

Senator Hoeven says the funding of $38 million will be used to help Rainbow Energy’s coal creek facility in Underwood.

“Capture and store CO2, which is vitally important to the long-term future operations of the power plant,” said Senator John Hoeven, R-North Dakota.

The Energy Information Administration says North Dakota contains the world’s largest known deposit of lignite and it is the fifth largest coal-producing state in the country. Lignite Energy Council President and CEO Jason Bohrer said this money is important to the coal industry.

“It allows us to maintain our place in the market. It allows us to maintain that employment and it allows us to continue to play a role in the communities of North Dakota,” said Bohrer.

The Lignite Energy Council said the money will allow the Coal Creek Station to continue to put electricity into the marketplace under a broader range of circumstances.

“If regulators or the federal government are saying to us, ‘You can provide electricity, but it has to be under these circumstances,’ we are then able to meet those circumstances. We are able to say, ‘We can sell you the electricity at a lower carbon footprint,’” said Bohrer.

The investment will also help protect jobs at Coal Creek and the Falkirk Mine.

“These are people’s lives that depend on how the research progresses. They are supporting the work every day when they are providing electricity to us as efficiently as they can,” said Bohrer.

Lignite Energy feels that North Dakota has laid the foundation for this new technology and the federal government is finally making that acknowledgment with the money awarded.

“It’s an indication of trust that the Department of Energy has in the pathway that North Dakota has laid out,” said Bohrer.

The Lignite Energy Council says that this demonstrates to the rest of the world that this is a viable way forward for the coal industry.

North Dakota has been the leader in carbon capture technologies for decades.