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Can This North Dakota Co-Op Prove the Potential of Carbon Capture and Storage?

Project Tundra represents a potential harbinger for the technology that could extend the viability of coal power.

In a tiny North Dakota town, a small electric cooperative utility has proposed the largest carbon capture project ever built to store emissions from a 1970s-era lignite coal plant.

The proposal comes after a legacy of failed carbon sequestration attempts at other power plants around the country and despite a $1.3 billion price tag.

Carbon capture and storage advocates say Project Tundra will be different and represents an important harbinger of how coal can continue to coexist in an electric grid still requiring baseline power, especially in rural areas with thin renewable energy assets and brutal weather. Beyond simply burying carbon in caverns, capture advocates foresee a world where sequestered emissions from industrial plants become a commodity for sale to customers in need of it for their own production.

They believe a new tax credit, still muddled in regulatory inertia, could jumpstart an international trend toward using carbon sequestration to reduce global emissions. And they are hoping tax credits will increase significantly as part of the Trump administration’s coronavirus stimulus package.

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Mining is Critical Infrastructure Sector Says DHS

“Our nation needs stability right now. We need a dependable supply chain for our manufacturing sector. And we need to know that our power sector is secure across the country,” said Rich Nolan, NMA President and CEO. “Mining underpins every aspect of our economy, providing the metals, minerals and coal that are essential to nearly every sector identified as critical infrastructure under DHS’ Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) National Infrastructure Protection Plan. It was gratifying to see DHS reiterate the importance of our industry during this crisis.”

Rich Nolan

There are 16 critical infrastructure sectors whose assets, systems and networks, whether physical or virtual, are considered so vital to the United States that their incapacitation or destruction would have a debilitating effect on security, national economic security, national public health or safety, or any combination thereof. Presidential Policy Directive 21 (PPD-21): Critical Infrastructure Security and Resilience advances a national policy to strengthen and maintain secure, functioning and resilient critical infrastructure. This directive supersedes Homeland Security Presidential Directive 7.

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Port of Mobile, Alabama Welcomes Coal Bulk Carrier Maran Courage

The Alabama State Port Authority announced that the largest bulk carrier to ever call on the Port of Mobile loaded over 133,000 short tons of metallurgical grade coal at its McDuffie Coal Terminal. The Newcastle Max class bulk carrier, Maran Courage, reportedly measures 300 meters in length overall and has a width of 50-meter beam. All of the carrier’s cargo loaded at McDuffie consisted of Alabama met coal bound for Asian markets.

Image: Coal Bulk Carrier Maran Courage

Newcastle Max call along with a steady increase in Post-Panamax vessels at the port is due in part to past and ongoing infrastructure investments. The US Army Corps of Engineers is currently leading the recently permitted and fully funded harbor modernization program to deepen and widen the Port of Mobile over the next few years. This is a landmark project made possible by the historic leadership of Senator Richard Shelby (R-AL), as well as the work by Governor Kay Ivey and the Alabama Legislature in enacting the Rebuild Alabama Act in 2019.

To continue reading, click here to view the full article on CoalZoom.com. 

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Keeping the Lights On is Essential Work

It would be difficult to find a piece of “news” coverage more out of touch with communities across our country than The Washington Post’s recent article questioning the essential nature of coal mining.

From his perch in Washington, D.C., the writer brushes off coal’s contributions to the grid noting that “coal provides less than a quarter of America’s electricity.” Ask West Virginia (92 percent), Indiana (nearly 70 percent), Kentucky (74 percent), Missouri (72 percent), Utah (65 percent) or many other states where coal provides the vast majority of power just how important the coal industry is.

While the article asks questions about the particular risks posed to miners from coronavirus (more on that later), the real thrust of the piece asks do we need mines operating, do we need coal power at all? Even posing the question reveals a gross misunderstanding of not only coal’s essential role on the grid but how grid operators maintain a reliable supply of power.

The fact that coal power provides a quarter of the nation’s electricity is not only significant – it’s a tremendous amount of power. In comparison, wind and solar generation provided less than 10 percent of the nation’s electricity in 2019. And coal generation time and again comes to the rescue to stabilize the grid during periods of peak demand when other sources of power can’t answer the call. The fuel-secure, on-demand power provided by the nation’s coal fleet continues to fill an irreplaceable if underappreciated role.

To continue reading, click here to view the full article on CoalZoom.com.

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 NMA Releases Details of Senate Negotiated Legislation

Early this morning, the U.S. Senate announced a bipartisan agreement on Phase III legislation responding to the coronavirus pandemic and effects on the economy.

The legislation includes two parts: relief to individuals, businesses including significant financial assistance to small business, states, cities, hospitals, among others.  Secondly, it includes additional funding for federal agencies.

Summaries of two parts may be found here and here.  Legislative text is not yet available.

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