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North Dakota’s Future Is in Coal, but Not for the Usual Reason

From Governing Magazine:

With its abundance of natural resources, the state of North Dakota continues to be a net exporter of energy. Transmission lines carry electricity from coal-burning plants and wind farms beyond its borders to neighboring states and Canada. Synthetic natural gas made from lignite is delivered via pipeline to the Midwest and oil from the vast Bakken Reserve ends up at refineries around the country.

The state’s oil and gas industry alone accounts for more than $42 billion in gross business volume, 50,000 jobs and nearly $4 billion annually in state and local tax revenues. This abundant supply of energy has reduced, if not theoretically eliminated, U.S. dependence on foreign oil. Besides oil, however, North Dakota may have something to offer of greater value as the country's energy production becomes increasingly green.

Today the U.S. relies heavily on China to supply the rare earth elements needed to manufacture personal and commercial high-tech devices and equipment, as well as for national defense. As the world transitions to green energy, North Dakota’s vast coal reserves may one day be a source of these critical minerals and the products developed from them.

If this happens, it will add another chapter to North Dakota's lengthy history as an exporter of energy production.


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