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Wyoming carbon test site could be chosen soon

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CASPER, Wyo. (AP) — The location of a proposed facility to test new technologies for capturing carbon dioxide from a working power plant could be selected by state officials within the next few months, a utility official said.

Two power plants in the Gillette area are being offered as potential sites for the test center by Rapid City, South Dakota-based Black Hills Power and Bismarck, North Dakota-based Basin Electric Power Cooperative.

The utilities are submitting information about their plants to the Wyoming officials who are planning the test center, the Casper Star-Tribune reported (http://bit.ly/1lEvQR6 ).

Teams will use the center to test new ways to capture carbon dioxide emissions and put the greenhouse gas to profitable use as they compete for a $10 million X Prize proposed by electricity wholesaler Tri-State Generation and Transmission Association.

The test center's location could be decided by Thanksgiving, said Mark Stege, vice president of operations at the Black Hills subsidiary Cheyenne Light, Fuel and Power.

"The governor laid out a vision in terms of being on the leading edge of carbon capture and sequestration. We want to be part of the solution," Stege said.

Besides selecting a site, Wyoming officials seek to raise $5 million in private or federal funds to help pay for building the test center. The money was a condition of a $15 million appropriation by the Wyoming Legislature last winter.

Gov. Matt Mead's office is considering whether to seek more state funding for a pre-design analysis, said Rob Hurless, an energy policy adviser to the governor.

Meanwhile, the proposed test center will need to be evaluated to ensure it doesn't violate the selected power plant's air pollution permit.

"These aren't trivial problems. They take time and energy and thoughtfulness to address," Hurless said.

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Information from: Casper (Wyo.) Star-Tribune, http://www.trib.com

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