Fossil Energy

Globally, the world’s population relies on fossil fuels for over 80 percent of our energy, and the use of coal, oil and natural gas continues to grow dramatically.  Here at home, industry innovation in places like the Bakken of North Dakota has transformed America’s domestic energy and economic prospects through new unconventional oil and natural gas production.  The International Energy Administration estimates that the U.S. will surpass both Russia and Saudi Arabia in oil production by 2016.

Continued fossil energy abundance brings important and welcome economic and energy security benefits.  It also presents profound challenges to reducing the carbon and environmental footprint of our future energy system.

In this new era of unconventional fossil energy production, the Great Plains Institute is leading regional and national efforts with industry, government, environmental and other stakeholders to advance policies and technologies to ensure that future production and use of fossil fuels result in ever lower carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions.  Priorities include:

  • Expanding commercial-scale capture of CO2 from industrial sources—like coal and natural gas power generation, natural gas processing, and ethanol, fertilizer, chemical, cement, and iron and steel production—for use in enhanced oil recovery (EOR) to increase domestic oil production, while permanently storing the CO2 in the process.

  • Fostering low-carbon development of unconventional oil and gas resources in North Dakota’s Bakken formation through best practice natural gas management, demonstration of CO2-EOR, and deployment of new electric generation to supply low-emission power to the oil field, while providing a source of CO2 for future EOR.

  • Developing flexible, cost-effective strategies for reducing CO2 emissions from existing coal-fired power plants in the context of potential federal regulations.

To learn about upcoming events related to our fossil energy work, including informational webinars and workshops, please click here.


Midcontinent Power Sector Collaborative tours General Motors’ Battery Lab

Tour provides unique opportunity to learn about the power behind electric vehicles.

A Quarter of the U.S. Senate Comes Together for Bipartisan Support of Carbon Capture Legislation

Legislation attracts strong support in the Senate and from industry, labor, NGO, and state government leaders.


Vice President, Fossil Energy
Senior Research Analyst
Vice President, Strategic Initiatives
Program Consultant
Managing Editor & Senior Writer
Program Assistant
Program Consultant