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Co-ops: New EPA rules could mean power grid reliability issues

Minnkota Power

Representatives of electric co-operatives are expressing concerns about new EPA rules that target greenhouse gas emissions, mercury emissions and coal combustion residuals.

The EPA has mandated that coal-fired power plant operators choose between implementing carbon capture technology, or closing the facility.

The co-op representatives say CO2 capture is promising, but the technology isn’t there yet.

"We think it's unachievable, because it's mandating the use of, and the widespread adoption of, carbon capture and sequestration," said National Rural Electric Cooperative CEO Jim Matheson. "IT's promising, but it's simply not ready for prime time, for application across the country."

Minnkota Power Cooperative has been working on its own carbon capture effort, called Project Tundra, at the Milton R. Young power station here in North Dakota.

"I have great confidence we're going to capture CO2," said Minnkota president and CEO Mac McLennan. "But for us to have reference point of 90 percent removal from EPA, when it's yet unverified, causes me pause."

The co-ops say they’re concerned about what the rule could mean for power grid reliability.

Several states – including North Dakota – have challenged the rules in court.

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