Baucus says Montana poised to lead nation toward energy security

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Posted: Saturday, March 23, 2013 8:00 pm

U.S. Sen. Max Baucus, D-Mont., stressed Montana’s all-of-the-above energy priorities during a meeting with Energy Secretary-nominee Ernest Moniz. Baucus urged Moniz to visit Montana to learn more about the state’s dynamic energy portfolio.

“Montana can help lead the way toward energy security, and it’s critical that federal agencies understand one-size-fits-all policies rarely work for Montana’s unique landscape. That’s why I’m encouraging Moniz to visit Montana, to hear from Montanans and to see firsthand how our people are putting our treasures to work,” Baucus said. “Montana’s got wind, coal, oil and natural gas, hydropower, and biomass fuels like camelina, and Montana innovators are putting our vast resources to good use strengthening our energy future.”

Baucus personally invited Moniz to visit Montana this spring. Baucus also highlighted key Montana energy priorities including:

• Clean Coal: Montana received a $70 million Dept. of Energy grant in 2011 for a regional carbon sequestration demonstration partnership run by MSU near Sunburst. Baucus outlined the potential of the project to help pave the way to commercial scale clean coal technology.

• Energy Research Projects: Encouraged Moniz to look at Montana advanced renewables technology programs such as biofuels using Montana-grown grain, algae, and oilseeds and other advanced technologies like enhanced oil recovery.

• Wind energy: Baucus raised the issue that lack of transmission continues to be a challenge in harnessing Montana’s wind potential.  He asked Moniz to support efforts to diversify wind infrastructure in Montana and to work on solutions on how to attract greater capital to Montana’s unique wind portfolio.

• Montana’s rural electric cooperatives: Baucus raised the importance of transparency in ensuring Montana rural electric customers and cooperatives have adequate input into any potential DOE efforts to revamp the nation’s power grid.