Burgum stresses importance of innovation, workforce at Great Plains & EmPower ND Energy Conference

Monday, October 8, 2018 - 4:30pm

BISMARCK, N.D. – Gov. Doug Burgum today stressed the importance of solving the state’s workforce shortage and fostering innovation in both the public and private sectors to secure North Dakota’s future as an energy powerhouse during the Great Plains and EmPower ND Energy Conference at Bismarck State College.

In closing remarks to the 12th annual conference, Burgum said the state continues to strongly support an all-of-the-above energy strategy, highlighting its robust oil and gas, coal, wind, hydroelectric and biofuels sectors.

“With oil and gas production hitting record levels thanks to private-sector innovation, coal plants becoming cleaner and more efficient under a supportive White House administration, and more than one-fourth of our net electricity generation coming from wind, North Dakota is a shining example of how a common-sense regulatory environment can spell economic success and ensure a low-cost, reliable energy supply,” Burgum said. “We owe this success to private-sector investment in new technology and efficiencies, and we’ll continue to encourage such investment through our focus on innovation, not regulation.”

Burgum and Lt. Gov. Brent Sanford, who participated in a morning panel with U.S. Sen. John Hoeven, Sen. Heidi Heitkamp and Rep. Kevin Cramer, both highlighted efforts to address the state’s workforce shortage. Those include the Main Street Initiative’s focus on creating healthy, vibrant communities that can attract and retain a 21st century workforce, and the results of a recent employer survey being used by the state’s Workforce Development Council to craft policy recommendations aimed at alleviating the workforce shortage.

“Workforce remains our No. 1 barrier to economic growth,” Sanford said. “Our administration is committed to tackling the shortage through a multi-pronged approach to ensure that our energy industry and overall economy can reach their fullest potential.”

Burgum and Sanford also expressed their gratitude for Deputy U.S. Energy Secretary Dan Brouillette attending and speaking at the conference.