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