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Gov. John Hoeven, R-N.D., has formed the Empower North Dakota (Empower ND) Commission to make recommendations to enhance the state's existing comprehensive energy plan, also known as Empower ND.

Empower ND includes aggressive policy goals and incentives in each energy sector, and emphasizes partnerships between traditional and renewable industries, the governor's office says. During an address to the commission, Hoeven outlined a number of state and federal policy issues he believes are vital to future energy growth, including state and federal rules and incentives for carbon dioxide sequestration; building on renewable energy incentives; and enhanced transmission and pipeline capacity.

According to the governor's office, North Dakota produced less than 1 MW of wind power four years ago, but current and projected projects will produce up to 900 MW of wind power.

Shane Goettle, director of the Department of Commerce, will chair the commission. Other members include Mark Nisbet of Xcel Energy; Randy Schneider, chairman of the North Dakota Ethanol Producer’s Association; Dale Niezwaag of Basin Electric Power Coop; Ron Day of Tesoro; Terry Goerger, a farmer near Mantador; Paul Goulding of Goulding’s Oil; Eric Mack of Archer Daniels Midland; Ron Ness of the North Dakota Petroleum Council; Andrea Stomberg of MDU; David Straley of North American Coal Co.; John Weeda of Great River Energy; Sandi Tabor of the Lignite Energy Council; and Chuck McFarland of Otter Tail Power Co., ex-officio.

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