Monday, February 01, 2010
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Exelon says it will join Illinois' FutureGen Alliance

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[February 01, 2010]  CHICAGO (AP) -- Exelon Corp. announced Saturday that it plans to join the FutureGen Alliance, an organization developing an experimental clean-coal power plant in eastern Illinois.

The support from one of the nation's largest power generators is an encouraging sign that plans for building the plant near Mattoon are coming along.

The U.S. Department of Energy had agreed to allow coal and power companies to continue developing the project, but final approval is expected in February. The agency had said the developers need to find a way to cut costs and to bring in more partners.

"We are extremely pleased to have one of America's largest utilities join FutureGen. Exelon will bring significant industry support to the project and will further strengthen the Alliance team," said Michael Mudd, chief executive officer of FutureGen Alliance, in a statement Saturday. "Together, we will be in a position to deliver the next generation of low-carbon energy technology to Illinois and the world."

Mudd has said that his goal is to increase the number of companies involved in the project. Some of those already involved are St. Louis-based Peabody Energy Corp., Anglo American of the United Kingdom and Wyoming-based Rio Tinto Energy America.

Gov. Pat Quinn and Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Ill., announced Chicago-based Exelon's involvement at a news conference Saturday in Chicago.

"FutureGen will be the first facility of its kind to demonstrate the latest technology in electric power generation while capturing and safely storing greenhouse gas emissions," Quinn said in a statement.

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Durbin was among those who fought to keep FutureGen alive after the Bush administration scrapped the project due to cost concerns. A congressional auditor later said the Bush administration's cost estimates were based on false projections.

The plant would use coal while removing the greenhouse gas carbon dioxide and storing it underground.

John Rowe, Exelon chairman and CEO, said it is important to find ways to cut emissions.

"Coal plays an enormously important role in our nation's energy supply, so it is critical that we explore the most promising technologies for reducing -- and even eliminating -- greenhouse gas emissions at coal-fired power plants," Rowe said in a statement.

[Associated Press]

Copyright 2010 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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