North Dakota Industrial Commission awards funding for proposed hydrogen project at Dakota Gas

On Dec. 20, the North Dakota Industrial Commission awarded funding to Bakken Energy for a project that could transform the Great Plains Synfuels Plant into the largest and lowest-cost, clean hydrogen production facility in the United States. A $10 million grant and $80 million loan will come from the state’s Clean Sustainable Energy Fund. In total, six projects were funded for a total of $28 million in grants and $135 million in loans.

In the Clean Sustainable Energy Authority (CSEA) application, Bakken Energy stated that it is currently incurring significant costs in connection with project development, and CSEA support would be paired with current cash and new capital being raised to support these critical expenditures, which are necessary to meet the project’s timeline targets.

On Dec. 14, the CSEA met to review the applications and hear testimony for each project. Basin Electric’s Former CEO and Project Lead Paul Sukut, as well as Bakken Energy, Mitsubishi, and ATCO representatives provided testimony in support of the proposed project and application for funding. The CSEA recommended approval of the funding after that meeting.

“We are very excited about the project,” Sukut said at the hearing. “We need to make a business decision, one that would allow us to retain the jobs at the plant and mitigate our losses. We feel this project is the best decision for everyone involved.”

In June, Bakken Energy signed a non-binding agreement with Basin Electric and Dakota Gas to further the process of a potential purchase of the Synfuels Plant. Basin Electric continues to work with Bakken Energy while both entities collect data and conduct due diligence.

If the negotiations are successful, the final sale of the plant is anticipated to occur in late 2022 or early 2023. Dakota Gas, along with Basin Electric support staff, would continue to operate the coal gasification process through 2026 or 2027, which is when the plant would be repurposed.

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