- Associated Press - Sunday, October 23, 2016

BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) - The North Dakota coal industry is trying to change the face of energy technology research as it looks toward a carbon-free future.

EmPower Commission, a group of representatives from the state’s energy industries formed to develop North Dakota’s energy policy, has identified a gap in large-scale commercial trials to deploy technologies into the field, the Bismarck Tribune (https://bit.ly/2etVtTY ) reported.

Lignite Energy Council President Jason Bohrer said there needs to be a change in research and development philosophies in order to meet the challenges in energy development. The nonprofit is planning to ask the state Legislature to develop a program to fund such projects.

“We could become the place that doesn’t just identify new technology. We could be the place (companies) come to demonstrate and prove technology,” Bohrer said.

The Lignite Vision 21 Program, which was created to help fund new lignite energy facilities, caps its projects at $10 million.

North Dakota has historically not been an ideal place where the coal industry builds big-budget projects. Bohrer said having a way to fund a commercial trial can be one way to boost that type of investment in the state.

Ideally, the coal industry’s energy investment program would be funded for 10 years with $250 million to $300 million. Bohrer wants to push to make the fund permanent through coal extraction taxes and wants to involve peer reviewing and project vetting for the program.

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Information from: Bismarck Tribune, https://www.bismarcktribune.com


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