Lignite Energy Council President and CEO, Jason Bohrer, visited the Minnesota Capitol to testify on house file 1956 which would require 100% renewable energy by 2050. Bohrer spoke against the bill but also issued a challenge to legislators to work together to find solutions for carbon capture and storage. You can read his testimony below or listen to the audio here:
Madame Chair, members of the Committee:
My name is Jason Bohrer, I am testifying on behalf of the Lignite Energy Council, a regional trade association whose members provide power to millions of customers in the Upper Midwest.
Our members currently provide affordable, reliable and dispatchable electricity from North Dakota’s lignite coal reserves while maintaining North Dakota’s status as one of only 14 states recognized by the Environmental Protection Agency as meeting all applicable clean air standards. North Dakota’s has demonstrated it is possible to have clean air, clean water and clean electricity from coal as part of a balanced portfolio of energy resources.
North Dakota’s lignite power plants are quite simply the most affordable source of thermal baseload, dispatchable power in the entire MISO market. The most recent pricing data shows North Dakota’s lignite plants are cheaper than even gas and nuclear power plants—all while being required to reclaim the land to the highest agricultural standards.
Its no secret that North Dakota and Minnesota have had disagreements regarding our respective energy policies, but that spirit of contention doesn’t have to color our future together. We recognize that what people across the region crave is reliable power for their homes, affordable power for their businesses and responsible power for entire economies, as well as clean air, clean water and a clean environment.
Once we agree on those goals, we can plan on how to meet them. Specifically, we see the goal that Minnesota has contemplated regarding lower CO2 emissions and tell you that we can help. You’ve heard of the exciting work that Minnkota is doing to capture CO2 from the Young Station. The members of the Lignite Energy Council support that work—we are a funding partner—but it is just one project that we are excited about that will reduce CO2 or make our plants more efficient. I am also Chairman of the Lignite Research Council—one of the largest R&D programs in the country. We have millions of dollars per year at our disposal to dedicate to the goals we know we share with you—serving the needs of current customers while planning for the needs of future generations.
However, that work is threatened by mandates that would force unproven technology into the marketplace—where the costs and risks would be born by ratepayers.
If this Committee wants to reduce CO2–we can help in a way that is seamless to your customers, painless to your economy and harmless to the environment. Thank you.