U.S. Secretary of Energy Jennifer Granholm, during a visit to the Energy & Environment Research Center at UND, said she believes North Dakota is poised to play a key role in addressing climate change.
Granholm visited Grand Forks on Thursday, Oct. 14, to tour the EERC with Sen. John Hoeven, R-N.D., and Gov. Doug Burgum. Following that tour, they held a discussion with energy company executives from across the state.
That discussion focused on the generation of clean power, but also on advancing to commercialization carbon capture utilization and storage technology (CCUS) — essentially stripping carbon from coal or other energy sources, and burying it underground. Energy executives said doing so will require expanded federal financial assistance.
Granholm said she doesn't view combating climate change with a silver bullet, but rather "silver buckshot." In North Dakota, that buckshot pattern hits several targets, including further rolling out wind and solar power, but also working to decarbonize fossil fuels.
And, then look at this:
Burgum said North Dakota "hit the jackpot of geology" because the state can store 252 billion tons of carbon underground in a carbon "sink." That amount, he said, equates to 50 years of national carbon production from energy generation, or 4,400 years in what North Dakota generates on its own.
Granholm agreed, saying: "You've got a comparative advantage, clearly in carbon capture and storage because of your geography," and called the storage capacity a "gift to the planet."
In May, Burgum announced an ambitious plan to make North Dakota carbon neutral by 2030. Burgum said since that announcement, investment from outside the state has poured in, to the tune of $25 billion for projects like carbon capture programs.