coal

Energy Secretary Perry tours ND Coal Country

Aug 14, 2018
Dave Thompson / Prairie Public

US Secretary of Energy Rick Perry is praising North Dakota for its innovations in energy.

Perry toured coal fields and power plants during a visit to the western part of the state Monday. Perry told a roundtable discussion following the tour – at the University of Mary in Bismarck – he was very impressed with the Coal Creek Station power plant and its co-located Blue Flint ethanol facility, which uses steam from the power plant to produce ethanol.

Long before North Dakota tapped its oil, there was lignite coal mining. And a century ago, the state engineer was tasked with inspecting those mines and building a report.

Tag your shovel day

Jan 30, 2018

During the Great War, many items were needed for the troops fighting halfway across the world. This put a strain on items back on the home front – so limits and strictures were placed on items such as foods, metal, and fuel. In a program to encourage conservation, on this date in 1918, North Dakota observed "tag your shovel day" in cooperation with the US Fuel Administration.

North Dakota’s coal regulatory and abandoned mine land programs have received high marks from the federal Office of Surface Mining.

The reports come from the year that ended June 30th.

The programs are under the Public Service Commission. Commission chairman Randy Christmann said the reports show North Dakota has a cost-effective program that doesn’t need any corrective action.

Amy Sisk / Inside Energy

With the Clean Power Plan out, officials in North Dakota say they are still committed to finding ways to capture carbon emissions from coal-fired power plants.

They’re eyeing a project under construction in Texas to build a zero-emission gas plant, a small-scale version of the Allam Cycle outside Houston that’s slated to fire up next year.

Amy Sisk / Prairie Public

Officials across coal-rich states are cheering an announcement that the Environmental Protection Agency will withdraw the Clean Power Plan. Now, attention turns to how the nation will address greenhouse gas emissions going forward.

The rule put in place by the Obama administration would have required North Dakota to reduce its carbon emissions 45 percent by 2030. The state’s coal industry worried this would force utilities to shut down some coal-fired power plants and, subsequently, the coal mines that feed lignite to these facilities.

Amy Sisk / Prairie Public

North Dakota’s lignite coal industry has ambitious -- and pricey -- plans to capture carbon emissions from coal-fired power plants, which industry leaders highlighted Thursday at a conference in Bismarck.

Coal Plants Adapt To Follow Demand

Aug 2, 2017
Amy Sisk / Inside Energy

Facing competition from renewables and cheap natural gas, coal-fired power plants are learning they must adjust to survive.

For decades, many coal plants burned coal as fast as their facilities could handle.

"The best way they operate is you turn them on, you run them up as high as you can, and you let them run for days," said Dale Niezwaag, vice president of government relations for Basin Electric Power Cooperative.

 

Amy Sisk / Inside Energy

 

 

If the coal industry is to survive, its savior may be something often touted by President Donald Trump when he talks energy.

“We’re going to have clean coal, really clean coal,” he said earlier this year in announcing an executive order to roll back the emission-targeting Clean Power Plan.

In North Dakota, Will Wind Keep The Lights On?

May 16, 2017
Amy Sisk / Inside Energy

Steven Somsen’s farm has looked the same his entire life -- it’s flat, with wheat and soybeans that will soon grow as far as the eye can see.

But the 61-year-old’s view changed last year.

“Those are the closest ones to us, but they’re not our towers,” he said, pointing to several nearby wind turbines. “That’s the neighbors’. Ours are way, way off in there.”

One hundred wind turbines dot the farmland around his rural community of Courtenay in eastern North Dakota. Somsen has three on his land.

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