There is increasing pressure on companies like MDU to make voluntary disclosures on issues such as actions they take to reduce emissions or the diversity of their workforce, Kivisto said. Federal regulators may require such disclosures in the future, she said.
North Dakota Transmission Authority Director John Weeda also spoke at the conference, offering commentary on the power grid as more states set emission reduction requirements in a bid to fight against climate change.
“It’s a huge curve happening to us,” he said.
Weeda cannot imagine a reliable electricity grid that does not have a “substantial amount” of energy that can be used on demand on cold days when electricity needs soar.
Coal has this attribute, but renewables such as wind and solar do not, and battery storage technology that could potentially compensate for it has not advanced enough, Weeda said.
“We have to have practical goals,” he said.
Weeda also touched on another emerging trend in North Dakota’s power sector: cryptocurrency mining.
A large facility planned in Jamestown will be operated by Applied Blockchain and will use a substantial amount of electricity – 100 megawatts – to mine digital currency.