McFeely Blog: Another report tears up carbon capture, which taxpayers are spending hundreds of millions to fund in hopes of saving ND’s coal industry


Skepticism, by the way, extends to the public bank of North Dakota (socialism!), Which has refused to endanger itself as a lender for the $ 250 million in loans that state lawmakers are granting to the Tundra project in the hope of saving several hundred coal jobs and mining-related tax revenues.

Project Tundra has already secured about $ 50 million in federal funding and an additional $ 15 million from North Dakota.

And oneAccording to a recent article published on the S&P Global Market Intelligence website – which markets itself as “a leading provider of financial and industry data, research, news and analysis to investment professionals, government agencies, businesses and universities around the world” – funders of the Tundra Project are also seeking a loan of $ 700 million from the US Department of Energy. guarantees.

Also according to the article, which is a damning look at several ongoing carbon capture projects, you can count the president and CEO of the country’s largest utility as a carbon capture skeptic. Jeffery Lyash, head of the Tennessee Valley Authority, which supplies electricity to 10 million people in seven southern states, says adapting new technology to aging technology doesn’t make sense. TVA will withdraw its five remaining coal plants over the next 15 years.

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“Carbon capture is really irrelevant to our existing coal fleet,” Lyash said at the American Nuclear Society’s annual meeting this month, according to the article. “Re-adapting the technology to this old asset will not pay off in any scenario.”

The Milton R. Young station near Center, North Dakota, which would be equipped with carbon capture technology, went online in the 1970s. Three of the TVA factories that will be closed were built in the 1970s. 1950 and one was put into service in the late 1960s.

Plant owner, Minnkota Power Cooperative of Grand Forks, continues to move forward with the support of the state legislature, the North Dakota federal delegation (especially US Senator John Hoeven) , the Lignite Energy Council, the North Dakota Industrial Commission, and the University of North Dakota Energy and Environmental Research Center (formerly known as the Lignite Research Laboratory).

The state’s largest media company, Forum Communications, recently ran an op-ed from its Grand Forks Herald property that considered Project Tundra’s estimated cost of over $ 1 billion “worth the risk.” (InForum is owned by Forum Communications.)

The S&P Global article is less certain. It follows a study by the Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis that lambasted the Tundra project, saying it was likely to have cost overruns from its estimated cost of $ 1.6 billion and that, in addition to being a risk, would ensure that Minnkota customers would pay more for their electricity.

The S&P Global article opens:

Capturing carbon in aging US coal-fired power plants has always been a long-standing financial opportunity, and the prospects for such projects appear to be dimming as private investors look elsewhere and federal support for the technology wanes under the Biden administration. .

None of the five proposals to upgrade coal-fired power plants with carbon-capture technology in the United States has secured funding to build the scrubbers, carbon absorbers, and geological storage sites needed to start operating. Some analysts are also warning that costs could rise, ultimately leaving taxpayers and taxpayers responsible for spending unchecked if projects were to be scrapped.

He says that “… private funding for costly carbon capture projects is drying up as banks and corporations adopt policies discouraging investment in coal.”

The article says “… neither the developers of Project Tundra nor any of the other developers have made a final decision on whether to go ahead with their projects, let alone secure funding to innovate. . “

A spokeswoman for Minnkota told Forum News Service that the utility has so far garnered great interest from private investors and the project is expected to enter its fundraising phase upon completion. summer or early fall. The Tundra project plans to begin construction in 2022.

Those who support Project Tundra believe it will be a cutting edge winner that will change the landscape of coal-fired power plants not just in North Dakota, but around the world. They are selling it as a way to save jobs in North Dakota and help fight a dangerously warming planet – which many North Dakota politicians deny.

The rest of the world remains uncertain, including the biggest investors.

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