Lignite Energy Council meeting looks at coal’s future

BISMARCK – Brian Davey, CEO of Brown Coal Innovation Australia, and Janet Gellici, CEO of the National Coal Council, will be the keynote speakers when the Lignite Energy Council holds its annual meeting April 24-25 at the Bismarck Event Center in Bismarck.

Davey and Gellici are scheduled to speak April 24 with Davey speaking at 1:15 p.m. and Gellici at 2:45 p.m.

Davey has a background in the coal and power sector with more than 30 years of experience in the operations, financial, marketing and technology sectors of the industry. His career includes managing advanced coal technology programs both as an administrator in government service and as a consultant.

The Lignite Energy Council and the Brown Coal Innovation Australia are similar associations and exchange information that would benefit their members, said Steve Van Dyke, vice president of communications at the Lignite Energy Council.

North Dakota has a 25 billion ton reserve of economically recoverable lignite, Van Dyke said. He said Australia is the only place in th world with a larger known reserve of lignite than North Dakota.

Australia’s vast brown coal resources totals about a quarter of all known reserves, according to the Brown Coal Innovation Australia website.

In March 2018, Mike Holmes, vice president of research and development at the Lignite Energy Council, spoke at the brown coal (lignite) products seminar at Federation University in Australia. Holmes told those attending the seminar that North Dakota has vast brown coal (lignite) reserves that produce all its energy and is “kicking goals” as it cuts carbon dioxide levels and produces new products from the coal, according to the Latrobe Valley Express newspaper in Victoria, Australia.

Davey’s presentation will focus on Australian research and development studies and research and development advances regarding brown coal.

Gellici’s presentation will be about securing coal’s future and will include recommendations in support of coal’s vital role in the U.S. generation fleet. She will give an overview of recommendations from the National Coal Council to Energy Secretary Rick Perry on optimizing the existing coal fleet and advancing new markets for coal. Gellici spoke at the Lignite Energy Council’s 2015 annual meeting as part of a National Coal Council Panel. The National Coal Council is an advisory committee to the U.S. Secretary of Energy, providing advice and recommendations to the Energy secretary on general policy matters relating to the coal industry.

The annual meeting, themed “Blueprint for the Future,” will includes mine and plant updates from:

— Coyote Creek Mine, The Coyote Creek Mining Co.

— Falkirk Mine, The Falkirk Mining Co.

— Freedom Mine, The Coteau Properties Co.

— Center Mine, BNI Coal, Ltd.

— Milton R. Young Station, Minnkota Power

— Coyote Station, Otter Tail Power Co.

— R.M. Heskett Station and Lewis & Clark Station, Montana-Dakota Utilities Co.

— Great Plains Synfuels, Dakota Gasification Co.

— Antelope Valley Station, Basin Electric Power Cooperative

— Leland Olds Station, Basin Electric Power Cooperative

— Coal Creek Station and Spiritwood Station, Great River Energy

North Dakota’s congressional delegation is scheduled to speak at the annual meeting on April 25.