North Dakota Industrial Commission approves second Project Tundra CO2 storage permit

October 11, 2023

The North Dakota Industrial Commission (NDIC) approved a permit on Oct. 4 that will provide additional space for Minnkota Power Cooperative to safely and permanently store CO2 near Center, N.D.

The Dakota Carbon Center West storage facility has the capacity to store 122 million metric tons of CO2 over a 20-year period. Combined with the already permitted Dakota Carbon Center East facility, Minnkota has the capability to store 222 million metric tons of CO2 over two decades in Oliver County. The additional storage space provides redundancy and future opportunities for Project Tundra –Minnkota’s initiative to capture and store CO2 emissions from the coal-based Milton R. Young Station.

North Dakota is one of only two states that has received approval from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to regulate geologic storage of CO2 (also known as primacy). This is the sixth Class VI injection well permit that has been issued in the state.

The process for receiving the Class VI permit required significant data collection, analysis and documentation to ensure safe, permanent storage. Two stratigraphic test wells were drilled more than 10,000 feet underground to retrieve core samples in 2020, while a series of seismic and geophysical surveys were also conducted in the area. The permit requires the installation of a wide array of monitoring technologies to track CO2 movement in the subsurface, including down-hole and surface CO2 sensors.

Through Project Tundra, up to 4 million metric tons of CO2 are planned to be captured annually from the Young Station and stored in geologic formations approximately one mile underground near the plant site. If Project Tundra moves forward into construction, it will be the largest post-combustion CO2 capture project in the world.

“We remain grateful for the strong support we’ve received from area landowners, the city of Center and Oliver County,” said Mac McLennan, Minnkota president and CEO. “The science has shown that we have ideal geology to store CO2 in the region, but none of that matters if we don’t build and maintain relationships with the people in the area. We look forward to continued engagement with these stakeholders as Project Tundra moves ahead.”

A final decision on Project Tundra is anticipated in the first half of 2024.