Monday, February 1, 2016 12:00 AM
BNI Coal has a new parent company, BNI Energy, which will pursue opportunities in the energy sector, including carbon solutions in North Dakota. A new logo for BNI Energy and an updated logo for BNI Coal reflect the corporate structure change.
The new company will leverage the competencies and capabilities of BNI Coal and its deep roots in North Dakota’s lignite coal industry. A native North Dakota mining company, BNI Coal started mining in northwestern North Dakota in 1930 and has been mining lignite for the Milton R. Young Station since 1970 at its Center Mine location. Today, BNI mines about 4.5 million tons of lignite coal annually, supplying both units of the Milton R. Young Station.
Wade Boeshans, president and general manager of BNI Energy, met with employees Thursday to outline the vision and strategy of the new company.
“The creation of BNI Energy reflects the long-term direction of our company and future growth opportunities for our company and our team,” Boeshans said. “I am excited about the next chapter in BNI history as we secure our future while remaining committed to the lignite coal industry. I am excited about our strategy to pursue new opportunities and creative solutions. While we believe there is a promising future for BNI Coal in North Dakota, we also recognize the need for new and transformational solutions to realize it.”
“Increasing regulation has placed a priority and urgency on finding energy solutions that balance environmental concerns and the energy needs of consumers. BNI has been an energy leader for decades, and I’m excited about our natural progression into exploring other areas of the energy industry while advancing sustainable solutions for North Dakota,” said Robert J. Adams, ALLETE senior vice president – energy-centric businesses. “I’m also pleased to announce that Wade Boeshans, who has so effectively led BNI Coal, will take on additional responsibilities as president and general manager of BNI Energy.”
BNI Energy intends to explore opportunities in all forms of energy production, including value-added infrastructure services.
BNI Energy is partnering with Minnesota Power, Basin Electric Cooperative, and the Energy Environmental Research Center based in Grand Forks to develop a transformational coal technology, the Allam Cycle. The promising technology could yield an electric generator powered by lignite with nearly no emissions of carbon dioxide. In 2015, the partnership received a $1.5 million Lignite Research Council grant and $900,000 from the Department of Energy to help advance research for the design of an Allam Cycle plant using lignite as the fuel source.
“The research holds promise for North Dakota to continue to use its abundant coal resources while meeting proposed CO2 emissions standards and allow for future construction of lignite-fueled power plants to meet electricity needs,” Boeshans said.