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Black into green: A BIG opportunity for North Dakota’s oil and gas producers

Taylor, David D.J., Layurova, Mariya, Vogel, David S., Slocum, Alexander H.
Applied energy 2019 v.242 pp. 1189-1197
carbon, carbon dioxide, ecosystem services, electricity, farms, funding, greenhouse gas emissions, hydrocarbons, income, models, natural gas, oils, wind farms, wind power, North Dakota
A new perspective on carbon economics is developed and applied to demonstrate that oil and natural gas producers in North Dakota (ND) have an opportunity to make a profitable transition to wind energy producers. ND’s oil and gas producers can fund this black into green (BIG) transition by: first, investing a fraction of their revenues into wind energy farms; and second, reinvesting a portion of revenues from the wind-generated electricity. Over a period of 40 years, 100% of the greenhouse gas emissions associated with the production and consumption of ND’s oil and gas could be offset with an investment of 10% of both hydrocarbons’ value and a reinvestment of three cents per kilowatt-hour of wind-generated electricity. At the end of the 40-year period, the resultant 155-gigawatt wind farm would have offset 13.4 × 109 tons of carbon dioxide equivalent and cost $9.90/ton of offset carbon dioxide equivalent. This BIG example demonstrates the financial and environmental benefits of ND’s oil and gas producers transforming into renewable energy producers; hence regulators, hydrocarbon producers, and utilities should take note and think BIG. The reconfigurable, Excel-based model used herein is provided to allow readers to extend this example from ND to other regions, hydrocarbons, and green energy sources.