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Illinois coal could help land FutureGen

SPRINGFIELD -- Illinois could have an advantage over Texas in the sweepstakes to land a $1 billion, nearly pollution-free power plant, the chief of the state’s coal association said Tuesday. Phil Gonet, director of the Illinois Coal Association, said Illinois’ abundant coal fields could give two sites in Illinois the leg up over two sites in Texas in the contest to land the FutureGen power plant project.

“We certainly have more coal than Texas, so that’s good,” said Gonet. “If coal supplies mean anything, we could have an advantage there.”

The upbeat assessment came following an announcement by the U.S. Department of Energy and a coalition of private interests that Mattoon and Tuscola and two sites in the Lone Star State had made the list of finalists for the high-tech experimental plant.

FutureGen officials, however, cautioned during a press conference the plant will use coal from throughout the nation in order to test the effectiveness of the new technology.

The proposed 275-megawatt prototype plant will serve as a laboratory for testing an nearly emission-free power generating station. Plans call for injecting plant emissions into underground reservoirs, rather than allowing them to spew into the atmosphere, where the carbon dioxide has been linked to global warming.

The four chosen as finalists were winnowed from a field of 12, including two others in Illinois in Effingham and Marshall.

Winning the site is seen as an economic plum because of the 150 permanent jobs the plant will create, as well as the construction payroll, which could be worth $200 million per year... more [truncated due to possible copyright]  

“We certainly have more coal than Texas, so that’s good,” said Gonet. “If coal supplies mean anything, we could have an advantage there.”
 
The upbeat assessment came following an announcement by the U.S. Department of Energy and a coalition of private interests that Mattoon and Tuscola and two sites in the Lone Star State had made the list of finalists for the high-tech experimental plant.
 
FutureGen officials, however, cautioned during a press conference the plant will use coal from throughout the nation in order to test the effectiveness of the new technology.
 
The proposed 275-megawatt prototype plant will serve as a laboratory for testing an nearly emission-free power generating station. Plans call for injecting plant emissions into underground reservoirs, rather than allowing them to spew into the atmosphere, where the carbon dioxide has been linked to global warming.
 
The four chosen as finalists were winnowed from a field of 12, including two others in Illinois in Effingham and Marshall.
 
Winning the site is seen as an economic plum because of the 150 permanent jobs the plant will create, as well as the construction payroll, which could be worth $200 million per year initially.
 
In an effort to bring the plant to Illinois, officials have offered perks worth $82 million.
 
Gov. Rod Blagojevich said Illinois has the coal, the proper geology and strong support from officials to win the project.
 
“This is another strong statement of why we believe Illinois to be the logical choice for this unprecedented initiative,” the governor said in a statement.
 
U.S. Rep. Tim Johnson, who represents Mattoon and Charleston, credited cooperation among government officials for helping them land on the short list.
 
“The number of local, state and federal offices that must be in sync to get this done can be a bit overwhelming,” said Johnson, a Republican from Urbana.
 
U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin, a Springfield Democrat, also praised the work of state and local community leaders and said the project would be good for Illinois’ economy and the overall environment.
 
“Finding cleaner ways to generate power using coal will help ensure our country’s energy security and address global warming,” Durbin said in a statement.
 
U.S. Sen. Barack Obama, a Chicago Democrat, said the project could boost coal production in Illinois.
 
“The FutureGen project is the future of coal in the United States and with our vast coal deposits, skilled labor force and technological know-how, there is no better place than Illinois for this plant to be located,” Obama said.
 
U.S. Rep. Jerry Costello, a Belleville Democrat whose Southern Illinois district was bypassed in favor of the Eastern Illinois sites, said the decision is nonetheless positive for the state.
 
“FutureGen, no matter where it is located, is good news for Illinois coal,” Costello said.
 
A final decision on the site is not expected until September 2007. 

kurt.erickson@lee.net
 


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

JUL 25 2006
http://www.windaction.org/posts/3716-illinois-coal-could-help-land-futuregen
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