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'Project Tundra' plans moving ahead

Minnkota Power Cooperative

It’s being billed as the world’s largest carbon capture facility.

“Project Tundra” is designed to capture 90 percent of the carbon dioxide emissions from the Unit Two generator at the Milton R. Young power station near Center. It’s a joint project of UND’s Energy and Environmental Research Center, and Minnkota Power Cooperative, the plant’s owner.

Minnkota senior manager of external affairs Stacey Dahl said the project has several elements. First, the capture facility needs to be developed.

"It's essentially a big chemical processing plant," Dahl said.

Then, an underground storage facility has to be built. 

Dahl said there’s also a business development side to it.

"It needs to attract private investment," Dahl said.

Dahl said in talking with private investors, she finds there's a lot of interest in the project.

"There's a recognition that this is a tool and a solution that we need, not only for the long-term future of coal, but to achieve reduced carbon emissions in the future," Dahl said.

Dahl said it underscores the importance of the Milton R. Young plant to Minnkota.

Dahl also said it needs state and federal support. The federal Department of Energy has just issued a $17 million grant to the EERC for Project Tundra.

As for uses of the CO2, Dahl said enhanced oil recovery is one of the potentials.

"There is unlimited potential in North Dakota for this," Dahl said. "But first things first -- we need to build the capture facility and the storage complex, and from there it's all the better to set up enhanced oil recovery for the future."

Dahl said Minnkota expects to make a final decision on investment in the project next year. Construction would begin in 2022. Dahl said it will take about three years to build the project, meaning the projected on line date would be 2025. The cost estimate is $1 billion.

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