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How Coal Production Affects the People of North Dakota

Lignite Video: Learn more about lignite coal and its benefits to North Dakota. Video courtesy of Lignite Energy Council.
  • North Dakota lignite provides low-cost electricity to people in every part of the state.
    • According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, North Dakota has some of the lowest-cost electricity for residential use, ranking 50th out of 51 (50 states plus the District of Columbia).
      • As of December 2013, the average North Dakota residential electricity price was 8.55 cents per kilowatt hour; New York was 17.55 cents; the national average was 11.72 cents.
      • Low-cost electricity helps farmers, ag processors and manufacturers because it lowers their operating expenses allowing them to achieve higher profits.
    • North Dakota produces nearly three times the amount of electricity as is used within the state.
      • Over 2 million consumers and businesses in the Upper Midwest use electricity generated from North Dakota lignite.
      • The sale of electricity benefits all North Dakotans.
TSM Linemen
TSM Linemen: Basin Electric Power Cooperative Linemen work on a high-voltage transmission line from a bucket truck. Photo courtesy of Basin Electric. Power Workers – A power plant operator monitors equipment. Photo courtesy of Great River Energy.
  • Over the past 40 years, the state of North Dakota has received more than 1 billion dollars ($1,000,000,000) in tax money from the lignite industry.
    • In 2012, lignite companies paid an estimated $100 million in taxes to the state.
  • Opportunities are wide open for young people to choose careers in the lignite industry.
    • Nearly 17,000 people have jobs related to the lignite industry in North Dakota.
    • People in the lignite industry earn some of the highest wages in the state.
      • Oliver and Mercer Counties (home to three coal mines and five power plants) are among the top counties with the highest average wages in the state.
      • In 2012, mining salaries in Mercer County averaged $90,000.
  • Energy Students
    Students at Bismarck State College: learn how to operate technical equipment for a career in Power Plant Operations. Photo courtesy of Bismarck State College National Energy Center of Excellence.

    Energy courses and training programs are offered at several North Dakota colleges and universities including those at Bismarck, Minot, Fort Yates, Devils Lake, Wahpeton, Fargo, Grand Forks, and Williston.

Stories about Coal

Randy Crooke - Putting a Human Face to the Coal Mining Industry
Doyle Johannes - Living, Mining and Farming in Harmony
Steve Benson - Inspiring the Next Generation of Scientists and Engineers
Kessler - Affordable and Environmentally Responsible Energy
Andrew Holle – Electricity Demands are Everywhere