Coal company suspends efforts to build N.D. power plantBISMARCK — The North Dakota Industrial Commission announced Tuesday that Westmoreland Coal Company has withdrawn from the Lignite Vision 21 Program.
BISMARCK — The North Dakota Industrial Commission announced Tuesday that Westmoreland Coal Company has withdrawn from the Lignite Vision 21 Program.
The Colorado Springs, Colo., company is also returning $562,000 in matching funds it received from the program for development of a proposed 500-megawatt power plant near Gascoyne.
“We strongly believe in the value of the Gascoyne project and have been actively pursuing the approval of an air permit for a 500 MW generating facility,” said Keith Alessi, the company’s former president and current executive chairman of the board, in a letter to the commission. “Westmoreland does intend to continue development of the Gascoyne site. We cannot guarantee that this will take place in any time soon. Therefore, we have decided to withdraw from the LV 21 Program.”
The Lignite Vision 21 Program’s mission is to develop clean-coal technology for use in energy development with the state’s coal reserves.
Reasons cited by Alessi for the withdrawal of their application were uncertainty in the utility sector with future carbon regulations. He said this uncertainty has led to a slow down in the development of coal-based power plants.
North Dakota Gov. John Hoeven said that even though Westmoreland is putting their plans on hold, there are still projects in development in the state.
“Westmoreland has decided to put their Lignite Vision 21 project on hold due to uncertainty over the requirements for carbon management,” Hoeven said. “Other projects like Great Northern Power Development are moving forward with good carbon management plans, and we need to continue to find ways to help them capture and sequester CO2.”
State officials hope Westmoreland continues to work with the state to make the Gascoyne project and eventual reality.
“Westmoreland has been a good partner with the Commission in promoting this location and we are hopeful that we can go forward with a project at Gascoyne within the next few years,” Attorney General Wayne Stenehjem said. “We appreciate Westmoreland returning the funding so that it can be used for further research and development of carbon capture technology.”