Minnkota and Summit Carbon Solutions announce CO2 storage partnership

April 28, 2022

GRAND FORKS, N.D. – Minnkota Power Cooperative (“Minnkota”), a North Dakota-based electric generation and transmission cooperative, and Summit Carbon Solutions (“Summit”), an Iowa-based firm focused on the decarbonization of the agriculture and biofuels industries, have reached an agreement to co-develop carbon dioxide (CO2) storage facilities near Center, North Dakota.

Minnkota and Summit have been working independently on the development of their respective carbon capture and storage projects – Minnkota with Project Tundra, which aims to install innovative carbon capture technologies at the Milton R. Young Station in North Dakota, and Summit Carbon Solutions with the capture and permanent storage of CO2 from dozens of ethanol plants across five states in the Upper Midwest. Now, by working together, Minnkota and Summit will more quickly, efficiently, and cost-effectively advance their projects to commercial operations.

Minnkota CEO Mac McLennan announces a partnership with Summit Carbon Solutions at a press conference held April 28 in Grand Forks. (Minnkota)

The agreement provides Summit with access to Minnkota’s already permitted 100-million-ton capacity CO2 storage site near Center, North Dakota, the largest of only three such permitted sites in the United States. The agreement also creates the framework to jointly develop additional CO2 storage resources nearby, which are estimated to have aggregate CO2 storage exceeding 200 million tons. The collaboration is beneficial to both Minnkota’s and Summit’s projects, as it reduces risk, accelerates the timeline for financing and construction, and provides increased operational flexibility when CO2 storage begins. These benefits importantly provide landowners an enhanced opportunity to maximize the value of the rock formations deep below the surface.

North Dakota Lt. Gov. Brent Sanford explains how the partnership will lead the way for carbon capture innovation. (Minnkota)

In addition to Minnkota’s CO2 storage facilities, Summit is independently developing storage facilities in North Dakota with estimated CO2 storage resources to permanently store approximately 1 billion tons of CO2, which is less than 1% of the estimated storge capacity in North Dakota.

“We are joining two of North Dakota’s most prominent industries – agriculture and energy – to substantially lower CO2 emissions, while helping preserve American energy security,” said Mac McLennan, Minnkota President and CEO. “If our nation is to stay competitive during the energy transition, it will require multiple states and industries working together. Our hope is that this effort can serve as a blueprint for the collaborative thinking that is needed to drive energy innovation forward.”

“Summit Carbon Solutions is thrilled to team with Minnkota to accelerate our project and the decarbonization of biofuels and agriculture, which will greatly enhance the economic sustainability of those industries for decades to come,” said Wade Boeshans, Executive Vice President of Summit Carbon Solutions. “Working together, Summit Carbon Solutions and Minnkota will permanently and safely sequester tens of millions of tons of carbon dioxide every year, which will improve environmental outcomes while supporting industries critical to our region’s future.”

Minnkota CEO Mac McLennan (left) and Summit Carbon Solutions Executive Vice President Wade Boeshans sign a partnership agreement. (Minnkota)

Safety and environmental stewardship are vitally important to both Minnkota and Summit. Once the storage facilities are operational, CO2 will be permanently stored approximately one mile underground in suitable geologic formations. The geology in the region has been thoroughly studied and tested to ensure that safety and environmental stewardship can be maintained. The stringent permitting processes required by the United States Environmental Protection Agency and the North Dakota Industrial Commission ensure the safe injection of CO2 into secure geologic storage formations with constant monitoring to protect the lowermost United States sources of drinking water, and to ensure the CO2 remains permanently in the storage area.

Minnkota and Summit have been and will be active in communicating with area landowners and other key stakeholders to ensure all development continues to be transparent and collaborative.