A change in plant plansWhat was slated to be a coal gasification plant near South Heart will now produce electricity, a company spokesman said Friday.
By: Jennifer McBride and Beth Wischmeyer, The Dickinson Press
What was slated to be a coal gasification plant near South Heart will now produce electricity, a company spokesman said Friday.
Members of the Industrial Commission of North Dakota continue to support Great Northern Project Development/Allied Syngas Corp.’s ongoing development of the South Heart project. The commissioners prepared a letter of support to Chairman Charles Kerr of GNPD, after discussing the project at their Friday meeting in Bismarck. Commissioners have supported the project and $10 million has been committed to it, along with legislative and technical support, according to the letter.
“The site is ideally located to take advantage of the existing transmission infrastructure and GNPD’s unique access to extensive, low-cost coal reserves,” according to the letter.
The plant will be located four miles south and two miles west of South Heart and will be a
coal-to-hydrogen electrical generation plant.
Rich Voss, Great Northern vice president, said the company asked the commission for support because it is applying for U.S. Department of Energy funding for its plant. Voss said this plant will be more marketable and is a very clean project carbon-wise. He hopes plant construction will begin in 2011 and said permits for the 2 million ton-per-year coal mine are likely to be filed late this year or early next year.
“They originally were going to be a power plant, then a gasification plant then a coal-drying plant, so the next logical attempt will be electricity,” said Mary Hodell, a member of Neighbors United, a citizen-awareness group based out of South Heart. “I don’t know what is left.”
Voss said Great Northern and GTL Energy, a company seeking to operate a coal beneficiation plant also near South Heart, are independent companies.
“We are not working together,” Voss said. “We will use their technology in our plant when they build it and prove that it works, but we won’t use their equipment.”
The cost to build Great Northern’s plant is estimated at $1 billion.
“The county does have a comprehensive plan that is in place to protect the livelihood of the people and it would be nice if that was followed,” Hodell said.