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Burgum signs 'Sustainable Energy Fund' bill

Dave Thompson
Prairie Public

Gov. Doug Burgum has signed a bill that creates a “Clean Sustainable Energy Fund.”

The fund will use $25 million from the state’s General Fund to support low emission technology projects.

"This is the final legislation this session that helps level the playing field for baseload energy," Burgum said at a state Capitol signing ceremony. "It insures baseload sources will also have a place in a carbon-constrained market."

This is one of a series of bills designed to help keep lignite coal viable.

"Truthfully, the coal industry is under fire," said House Majority Leader Chet Pollert (R-Carrington). "We need to get that straightened out so that our coal industry is on safe and fair grounds withy other sources of energy."

Senate Majority Leader Rich Wardner (R-Dickinson) said this is forward-looking.

"We were working really hard to clean up the emissions, clean up the electrons, so that they aren't 'black electrons,' but carbon-free," Wardner said.

Last week, Burgum signed a measure that gives coal-fired power plants a five-year holiday from the state’s coal conversion facility tax.

These all come on the heels of Great River Energy’s announcement that the Coal Creek Station plant near Underwood would be shutting down in 2022. State officials and the industry are looking for a buyer for that plant.