and Tuscola are on FutureGen's short list
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World's cleanest coal
plant is one step closer to coming to Illinois
[JULY 28, 2006]
CHICAGO -- Gov. Rod R. Blagojevich praised the
decision Tuesday that placed Mattoon and Tuscola on the
short list of candidates for the $1 billion
project. After three years of extensive planning and preparation,
Illinois submitted four potential locations in May -- Effingham,
Marshall, Mattoon and Tuscola -- that met the rigorous site review
standards established by the FutureGen Industrial Alliance for the
state-of-the-art plant. In September 2007, the alliance will
announce its final selection from four remaining sites. Besides the
two Illinois locations on the list, the other sites are in Odessa,
Texas, and near Jewett, Texas.
"After working aggressively for the past three years to land
FutureGen, this is another strong statement of why we believe
Illinois is the logical choice for this unprecedented initiative,"
Blagojevich said. "We have the coal, the geology and the strong
support on the federal, state and local level for bringing the
world's cleanest coal plant to Illinois. We are showing that
Illinois coal can meet our future energy demands, using cutting-edge
technology that protects our environment and puts more people to
work. For coal to be king again, it has to be clean, which is why we
are also offering the financial tools necessary to get this enormous
public-private project off the ground here in Illinois."
effort to bring FutureGen to Illinois, a $17 million direct grant
from a clean-coal technology fund tops off what is believed to be
the nation's most aggressive investment package for the project. The
grant, which can be used for a wide range of project costs, is part
of Blagojevich's budget for fiscal 2007, which was recently adopted
by the Illinois General Assembly and signed by the governor.
Illinois is among the leading states competing for this coal
plant of tomorrow, which will use coal gasification technology to
produce 275 megawatts of electric power, as well as hydrogen for
fuel cells and other industrial uses. Because capture of carbon
dioxide is critical to FutureGen's success, analysts selected the
final sites based on major factors related to the underlying
geology, water availability and other technical requirements set
forth by the FutureGen Industrial Alliance, which is developing the
facility for the U.S. Department of Energy.
Efforts by Illinois sites not on the final list also will pay
dividends in the future. As alliance officials recently observed,
those sites have laid strong groundwork to attract successors to
FutureGen and, in the meantime, will be attractive to a growing
number of industrial users contemplating their own potential needs
to capture and store carbon dioxide.
"We have believed since the beginning that Illinois is the
perfect place to locate FutureGen, and the inclusion of Mattoon and
Tuscola on the list of final sites brings us one step closer to that
goal," said U.S. Rep. Jerry Costello, D-Ill. "The cooperation of all
levels of government -- federal, state and local -- has been
critical to our getting this far, and I will continue to work with
the governor and local officials as the final site is selected.
Today is also important because it means FutureGen has reached
another important milestone. FutureGen, no matter where it is
located, is good news for Illinois coal."
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Since the two states share the same coal basin, Blagojevich and
Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels signed a "Memorandum of Understanding" in
December stating that Illinois' strong financial support for coal
development, as well as its appealing geologic features, make the
state the ideal host for the federally supported project, while
Illinois supports carbon dioxide sequestration projects related to
FutureGen in Indiana.
"This is another important day for the coal industry throughout
Illinois," said Jack Lavin, director of the Illinois Department of
Commerce and Economic Opportunity. "We are sitting on a vast natural
resource, with coal reserves that can produce more energy than the
oil reserves of Saudi Arabia. But to take full advantage of this
resource, we must focus on the development of clean-coal technology,
particularly coal gasification, which is exactly what we are doing
here in Illinois and why landing FutureGen is so critical to our
In addition to unwavering community support, local sponsors are
offering additional assistance that ranges from property and sales
tax abatements to site donations and land options designed for
facility expansion or the location of FutureGen-related businesses.
State support, in addition to the $17 million grant from the Coal
Development Fund, includes an estimated $15 million sales tax
exemption on materials and equipment through local enterprise zones.
Additional project-related funding is available through the Illinois
Coal Competitiveness Program, the Illinois Clean Coal Institute and
the Illinois Clean Coal Review Board, a public-private partnership.
Additionally, $50 million is set aside by the Illinois Finance
Authority for below-market-rate loans to the FutureGen Industrial
Other states bidding for FutureGen were Ohio, Texas, Kentucky,
West Virginia, North Dakota and Wyoming. Ohio and Texas each
submitted two sites for consideration. The others each submitted a
single site. Members of the FutureGen Alliance represent the largest
energy companies in the United States, plus a major energy company
in China and the nation of India. Among its major goals, FutureGen
seeks to show how carbon dioxide from the process of coal
gasification can be injected into and stored harmlessly in deep
underground formations of rock, sand and salt water.