At a recent hearing of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, Senator John Hoeven continued his efforts to advance the development and implementation of carbon capture, utilization and storage (CCUS) technologies in North Dakota. Specifically, the senator secured a commitment from Steven Winberg, Assistant Secretary for Fossil Energy at the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), to visit the state and learn about the work of the Energy and Environmental Research Center (EERC) at the University of North Dakota (UND) and its partners firsthand. Winberg oversees programs that directly benefit the EERC’s projects, including:
· 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.
“It’s one thing to demonstrate that CCUS is technically-viable, but the goal is to make these technologies commercially-viable,” Hoeven said. “The EERC and others are working to crack that code and realize the potential of efforts like Project Tundra and the Allam Cycle. We appreciate Assistant Secretary Winberg’s willingness to come to the state, which will help us reinforce and expand the DOE’s support for these projects. This support, combined with our legislation to make the economics of CCUS more viable, is an important part of keeping the projects moving forward and implementing this technology on a broad scale.”
Hoeven’s invitation to Winberg comes as part of his work to bolster the partnership between the DOE and the EERC. As a member of the Energy and Water Development Appropriations Committee, Hoeven secured strong support in Fiscal Year 2019 for DOE programs that would further the EERC’s efforts and is working to maintain similar funding in the coming years.
At the same time, Hoeven is advancing legislation to make the legal, tax and regulatory reforms that will help make CCUS commercially-viable. His efforts include:
· The Carbon Capture Modernization Act, Hoeven’s bipartisan legislation to modernize the 48A tax credit for clean coal facilities to better support CO2 capture retrofit projects, like Project Tundra.
· Working to make the Section 45Q tax credit more accessible for CCUS projects.
· Cosponsoring legislation like:
o The Utilizing Significant Emissions with Innovative Technologies (USE IT) Act, bipartisan legislation that he recently helped pass through the Senate. The bill would incentivize the development of facilities for CCUS and direct air capture, as well as pipelines to transport captured CO2.
o 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.