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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Wednesday, July 5, 2006       
CONTACT: Leah Mohr, (605) 773-3201

PUC Commissioner Hanson part of international delegation

PIERRE, S.D. – South Dakota Public Utilities Commissioner Gary Hanson will join more than two dozen energy industry executives, state regulatory commissioners, environmental advocates and foundation representatives from 11 states, July 7-16, on a coal technology and policy fact-finding tour of Germany and the Netherlands.

The delegation will visit commercial-scale, dry-feed gasification operations that produce a variety of liquid fuels, synthetic gas and electricity from low-rank coals, such as lignite. These plants produce fewer air pollutants than conventional coal plants and have the capability to capture and store carbon dioxide and mercury emissions.

"I am very interested in different technologies for energy production," Hanson said. "Though I have done a good deal of research on IGCC technology, the opportunity to experience several of the actual dry-feed gasification plants in operation and walk through testing facilities with operations managers will be valuable hands-on education. I am looking forward to discussing the processes, challenges and successes with company officials and planners," Hanson stated. IGCC stands for Integrated Gasification Combined Cycle, which is a technology that turns coal into a gas, and then removes impurities from the coal gas before it is combusted.

Delegation members will be briefed by leading global energy and manufacturing companies, Royal Dutch Shell, Siemens Power Generation, Inc. and British Petroleum and by three of the largest Dutch and German utilities that use low rank coal for power generation. German and Dutch government officials will present their countries' strategies for meeting the European Union's environmental and energy security goals and for establishing a continent-wide emissions trading market.

"The European coal industry is considered a global leader for using new technologies to produce cleaner and lower cost energy," said Hanson. "With the intellectual and innovative resources we have among the energy industry and associates in South Dakota, it is my hope that our state can become a regional leader in the production and marketing of such energy," he concluded.

The Great Plains Institute is organizing the tour, the costs of which are being underwritten by the Edgerton Foundation. GPI, a non-profit organization based in Minnesota and North Dakota, is engaging key public and private interests in the preparation of a roadmap for future development of the region's renewable and fossil energy resources, while reducing carbon dioxide and other emissions. The delegation visit is part of GPI's ongoing work with industry, governmental and environmental leaders to accelerate commercialization of low- and near-zero emission coal technologies in the context of this broader regional energy strategy.

The Edgerton Foundation, based in Beverly Hills, Calif., was founded in 2001. The Edgerton Foundation is a family foundation that supports non-profit organizations involved in education, the arts, international security, biodiversity, technology innovation and transitions in the use of energy in the future. Its support for the delegation visit is targeted to explore the promise of coal-gasification technology in power generation for the Midwestern United States.


MEDIA NOTE: Contact Leah Mohr, South Dakota Public Utilities Commission, for a complete participant listing and itinerary of the Coal Technology and Climate Policy Delegation.