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State should aggressively seek new coal plant

The state's incentive package includes a $17 million grant from a clean coal technology fund that was included in the Fiscal Year 2007 budget approved earlier this year. State officials must be aggressive in courting this project and not letting it get away. Our large coal reserves are among the state's selling points.

Illinois should continue to strive to be a leader in tomorrow's energy technology. That includes aggressively seeking demonstration projects using this technology.

This area will become a focal point for wind power when Horizon Wind Energy's wind farm in eastern McLean County begins operation later this year.

The state already is a major player in ethanol production, thanks to its corn-growing farmers and Decatur-based Archer-Daniels-Midland.

Now two Eastern Illinois communities are among four finalists for a coal-fired power plant that would be virtually pollution free.

The state's incentive package includes a $17 million grant from a clean coal technology fund that was included in the Fiscal Year 2007 budget approved earlier this year. State officials must be aggressive in courting this project and not letting it get away. Our large coal reserves are among the state's selling points.

Tuscola and Mattoon made the cut, along with two Texas cities, for a $1 billion state-of-the-art prototype plant that is a project of the FutureGen Industrial Alliance. The alliance consists of the several major foreign and domestic energy companies, including St. Louis-based Peabody Energy, working... more [truncated due to possible copyright]  

Illinois should continue to strive to be a leader in tomorrow's energy technology. That includes aggressively seeking demonstration projects using this technology.

This area will become a focal point for wind power when Horizon Wind Energy's wind farm in eastern McLean County begins operation later this year.

The state already is a major player in ethanol production, thanks to its corn-growing farmers and Decatur-based Archer-Daniels-Midland.

Now two Eastern Illinois communities are among four finalists for a coal-fired power plant that would be virtually pollution free.

The state's incentive package includes a $17 million grant from a clean coal technology fund that was included in the Fiscal Year 2007 budget approved earlier this year. State officials must be aggressive in courting this project and not letting it get away. Our large coal reserves are among the state's selling points.

Tuscola and Mattoon made the cut, along with two Texas cities, for a $1 billion state-of-the-art prototype plant that is a project of the FutureGen Industrial Alliance. The alliance consists of the several major foreign and domestic energy companies, including St. Louis-based Peabody Energy, working with the U.S. Department of Energy.

The project calls for bringing together various power-generation approaches to create a plant with zero pollution emissions.

The plant would use coal gasification technology. In that process, sulfur in the coal is converted to hydrogen sulfide and carbonyl sulfide and turned into useful byproducts.

The project calls for so-called "greenhouse gases" to be stored in underground reservoirs rather than released into the atmosphere - a process called sequestration.

Landing the project could bring a thousand construction jobs and about 150 permanent jobs at the plant. The construction jobs could yield an annual payroll of $200 million. But the benefits don't end there.

In addition to reducing pollution - a worthy goal in itself - the success of this project could bolster the state's coal industry if it leads to more FutureGen plants being constructed. That could revitalize many Illinois mines, such as the International Coal Group's Viper mine (formerly operated by Turris Coal Co.) near Elkhart, by making Illinois' high-sulfur coal more attractive.

The state's coal industry was hit hard when companies switched to lower-sulfur coal to meet requirements of the federal Clean Air Act.

Developing technology enabling high sulfur coal to become a non-polluting energy producer is good for Illinois and the country.

Jack Lavin, head of the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity, notes, "We are sitting on a vast natural resource, with coal reserves that can produce more energy than the oil reserves of Saudi Arabia."


Source: http://www.pantagraph.com/a...

JUL 29 2006
http://www.windaction.org/posts/3701-state-should-aggressively-seek-new-coal-plant
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