"If we make these kinds of investments now in ethanol and other
biofuels, within 10 years, we'll be able to produce enough energy
from our own natural resource to cut our dependence on foreign
energy in half," Blagojevich said. "That means billions of our
hard-earned dollars will stay here at home, in our economy, creating
more jobs rather than leaving Illinois forever. We have the
resources. We have the technology. We have the expertise. And if we
start today, we can solve this problem in the next 10 years. No
other state can say that. And the federal government hasn't even
conceived of that yet. But we can do it here in Illinois, and Center
Ethanol is going to help us do just that."
This groundbreaking follows the governor's announcement last week
of his energy independence plan to replace 50 percent of the state's
current supply of imported oil with renewable, homegrown biofuels
like ethanol and biodiesel. The governor proposes investing $100
million over the next five years to build up to 20 new ethanol
plants across Illinois. The additional ethanol production would
generate an estimated $1.7 billion in business investment. The
governor also proposes investing an additional $100 million over the
next 10 years to build four plants in downstate Illinois using new
technology to create ethanol made from plant waste materials like
corn husks and wood pulp -- "cellulosic ethanol." This means
boosting the state's annual ethanol production by more than 200
percent and meeting 50 percent of gasoline needs by 2017. And, the
governor's plan would invest $25 million to help build five new
biodiesel plants, boosting the state's production by 200 percent to
400 million gallons per year, the equivalent of 25 percent of the
state's annual diesel fuel needs by 2017. This additional biodiesel
production will generate another $225 million in business investment
in Illinois. This plan would create almost 20,000 construction jobs
and 10,000 permanent jobs. [Related
The state's support of Center Ethanol is coming from a variety of
business development programs in the Department of Commerce and
Economic Opportunity, including a Renewable Fuels Development
Program grant; Economic Development for a Growing Economy tax
credits, based on job creation projections over a 10-year period;
Employer Training Investment Program job training funds to help
enhance the skills of the work force; and additional financial
benefits, such as sales tax exemptions and tax credits for job
creation, resulting from the company being located within an
The facility will produce 54 million gallons of ethanol per year,
use more than 19 million bushels of corn annually and produce about
160,000 tons of livestock feed in the form of distillers dried
grains each year.
[to top of second column]
"Our site in Illinois has great infrastructure and provides
access to everything we need," said Barry Frazier, president of
Center Ethanol Co. LLC. "We greatly appreciate the support of
Governor Blagojevich for making this project happen."
Some of the major equity partners are Center Oil Company,
Yorktown Investments and Shipman Elevator Company, for a total
equity commitment of $35 million.
"Solutia is proud to play a role in bringing biofuels
initiatives to southwestern
Illinois," said Jeffry N. Quinn, chairman, president and chief
executive officer of Solutia Inc. "The Center Ethanol facility is a
major step forward in developing the area into a green
energy park that can leverage
the resources and experience of
Solutia's manufacturing site in Sauget."
"Governor Blagojevich and I understand that there are innovative
ways, right here in Illinois, to decrease our dependence on foreign
oil, while providing an important boost to our economy," said state
Sen. James Clayborne, D-East St. Louis. "This support for Center
Ethanol strongly demonstrates our commitment, today and tomorrow, to
ethanol as a viable energy alternative."
"Governor Blagojevich and I know that we must continue making
these kinds of crucial investments that will increase the production
of ethanol, which helps our farmers and protects our environment,"
said state Rep. Dan Reitz, D-Steeleville. "This new facility will
not only create 35 new jobs, but it will continue our commitment of
making ethanol a key component of our energy portfolio."
"This is an important investment that will pay important economic
and environmental dividends for years to come," said state Rep.
Wyvetter Younge, D-East St. Louis. "I want to thank Governor
Blagojevich for his commitment to increasing the availability of
renewable fuels in Illinois."
"Illinois is one of the leaders in annual corn production, and,
with Governor Blagojevich's vision, we lead the nation with new
programs to support biofuels such as ethanol," said Jack Lavin,
director of the Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity. "We
need to nurture and support this growing industry to continue
expanding our economy in a way that is continuously thinking about
the future and is environmentally responsible. We are opening the
door on a new era in southwest Illinois."