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Senate approves 'tax holiday' for lignite-fired power plants

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The state Senate has approved a bill calling for a five year tax holiday for coal fired power plants.

The coal conversion facilities taxes would be affected, Instead, coal plants would have to pay a lignite research tax.

Sen. Jordan Kannianen (R-Stanley) said it will make the coal plants more competitive on the daily wholesale electricity markets.

"They would be able to compete better, sell more electricity on more days of the year, and thus be more profitable and be more viable," Kannianen said. "With the distorted markets in which they exist, this bill is simply an effort to keep the industry moving forward, to keep something that is so important to our state moving forward."

Sen. Merrill Piepkorn (D-Fargo) opposed the measure. He told the Senate he understands how important the lignite industry is to North Dakota.

"But we do need to look ton the future, and start adapting to it, and start incorporating some of these other fuel sources and investigating them," Piepkorn said.

The tax holiday would reduce annual taxes by $21.3 million a year.

The measure is HB 1412. It passed 43 to 4. And it goes back to the House to see if it agrees with Senate changes.

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