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Great Plains Institute’s vice president for fossil energy and former N.D. Public Service Commission candidate Brad Crabtree will serve on the National Coal Council.

The National Coal Council studies and develops recommendations to the U.S. Secretary of Energy on the coal industry. Another North Dakotan recently appointed is Mike Jones, vice president of research and development of the Lignite Energy Council.

“I am appointing you to represent the viewpoints of organizations engaged in policy formulation for developing clean energy technologies and the beneficial use of carbon dioxide,” U.S. Secretary of Energy Ernest Moniz wrote in an appointment letter to Crabtree.

Crabtree said he has been encouraging the use of captured carbon dioxide from coal-fired energy production to enhance oil recovery for the past decade. The Great Plains Institute where he works is a nonprofit organization that develops energy policy and technology solutions.

Crabtree said he is excited and pleased to be joining the council and hopes to help create policies to encourage the development and use of new coal technologies. He said his years of work on carbon dioxide in oil recovery is now becoming a national priority.

“I think i’ts great when we can have multiple representatives from North Dakota on the council, said Jason Bohrer, executive director of the Lignite Energy Council. “I think it testifies to North Dakota’s importance in the coal industry.”

Bohrer said, although Crabtree and the Lignite Energy Council may not always agree on how to do things when it comes to the coal industry, Crabtree is knowledgeable about the industry.

Bohrer said he sees it as a good opportunity for the Lignite Energy Council and Crabtree to work together on the National Coal Council to benefit North Dakota’s Coal Industry.

Crabtree said one policy he would like to encourage on the council is the use of federal incentives to help companies that want to undertake the development of a carbon capture system. Companies have previously said the technology as it currently exists is not economical and takes too much power to run.

“I’m actually a real believer in the technology, but we need to do a better job of helping the companies do it,” he said.

Crabtree said he thinks the way to deploy the incentives would be through a competitive bidding process between companies.

Crabtree said he sees the studies on the benefits of new coal technologies will help build the case for why Congress should act on creating development incentives for coal. He said he thinks once companies are able to afford and use the technology, the industry will be able to work out any issues and, in turn, start to decrease the cost of the technology.

Crabtree and Jones will attend the next National Coal Council meeting in the spring, Bohrer said.

(Reach Jessica Holdman at 701-250-8261 or jessica.holdman@bismarcktribune.com.)

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Reach Jessica Holdman at 701-250-8261 or jessica.holdman@bismarcktribune.com.

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