Rasmusson energy

Mining for innovation: State Rep. Jordan Rasmusson, R-Fergus Falls, (standing center, blue shirt) and other Minnesota and North Dakota legislators gather in the bucket of a dragline, which is used to move dirt to uncover coal, during a recent tour of the BNI Center Mine in Center, North Dakota. 

ST. PAUL – State Rep. Jordan Rasmusson, R-Fergus Falls, was among several Minnesota legislators recently selected to attend a conference to learn about market-driven advancements in clean energy production.

Rasmusson said the Lignite Energy Council’s fall conference, which took place in North Dakota, showcased technological innovation taking place through Minnkota Power Cooperative’s Project Tundra carbon-capture project. 

This initiative has been hailed as a centerpiece of North Dakota Gov. Doug Burgum’s ambitious goal of the state becoming carbon neutral by 2030. Reports indicate it is designed to capture capture 90% of the carbon dioxide produced from either unit at the Milton R. Young Station located near Center, North Dakota — the equivalent to taking 800,000 gasoline-fueled vehicles off the road. 

“The advancements in energy research and development just across our border are truly remarkable and I came away with a whole new appreciation for North Dakota’s role as a worldwide leader on this subject,” Rasmusson said. “The visits to the Young station and BNI Coal’s Center Mine were enlightening. I am grateful for the opportunity to see how North Dakota is working to bring cutting-edge technology online to help meet ever-increasing energy demands and through an all-of-the-above approach to producing clean power.

“We need to figure out solutions for access to affordable, reliable energy and North Dakota is doing a great job of leading the way, with innovative technology instead of top-down government mandates. The more we can learn and borrow from North Dakota’s successes, the better.”

While the recent conference and tour was in North Dakota, Rasmusson said the breakthroughs are significant locally, with approximately 50% of the power generated in North Dakota exported to Minnesota.

Rasmusson said Minnkota is currently in the evaluation phase of Project Tundra. Although a final decision on whether to move forward with the project has not been made, Rasmusson said construction could begin as early as next year, with commercial operation scheduled for 2025.

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