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North Dakota: Legendary. Follow the trail of legends

Energy Resources of North Dakota

  • Nonrenewable:
    Geothermal power station Hydro electric dam Solar panels Biomass Wind Turbines
    • Petroleum (crude oil)
      • Petroleum is found in the Williston Basin in western North Dakota.
      • Oil is produced in 17 North Dakota counties.
      • North Dakota is the second leading petroleum producing state in the United States.
    • Natural gas
      • Natural gas is found along with petroleum deposits in western North Dakota.
    • Coal

      • Coal is the main energy source used for generating electricity. 
      • The kind of coal found in North Dakota is a very soft coal called lignite.
      • Lignite coal is mined in western North Dakota.
        • The supply of lignite in North Dakota is enough to last more than 800 years.
  • Renewable:
    • Wind
      • North Dakota’s wind resources rank 6th in the United States.
        • Wind farms are located in 13 North Dakota counties as of 2014.
    • Geothermal
      • Geothermal means heat from the earth.
      • North Dakota has potential for using geothermal energy to produce electricity.
      • Geothermal energy can also be used to heat and cool buildings.
      • As of 2014, 1,017 residences and 441 businesses, churches or government buildings in North Dakota were being heated and cooled by shallow geothermal systems.
    • Hydro
      • Hydroelectric power is electrical power produced by the movement of water.
      • The Garrison Dam is the only producer of hydroelectric power in North Dakota.
    • Solar
      • Solar power uses energy from the sun.
      • Some North Dakota farmers and ranchers use electricity produced from solar power to pump water for cattle to drink.
    • Biomass/Biofuels
      • Biomass includes all plant and animal matter.
      • Biofuels are fuels developed from living matter.
        • Ethanol and biodiesel are examples of biofuels.
          • North Dakota has four ethanol plants and one biodiesel plant.
    • Recovered Energy
      • Recovered energy is also known as heat-recovery energy, or waste heat energy.
        • Hot exhaust is captured and used to create electricity.


Careers in the energy field:

  • Approximately 32,000 North Dakota workers have jobs related to the energy industry.
  • Most North Dakota colleges and universities have courses related to careers in energy fields. *See Career Information for more details.
  • Energy careers are in high-demand. This means that there are many open positions in the field, and it is typically easier to find a job than other careers, such as psychology or architecture.
    • Many energy careers are high-wage jobs.
      • According to Job Service North Dakota, annual wages could be between $40,000 and $100,000 for machine and equipment operators, technicians, engineers, mechanical maintenance, and instrumentation and control professionals.