CHICAGO – One day after the FutureGen Alliance selected Mattoon as the site of the $1.4 billion plant, Governor Rod R. Blagojevich sent a letter to U.S. Department of Energy Secretary Samuel W. Bodman urging him to follow through on the commitment to fund FutureGen -- what will be the cleanest fossil fuel-fired power plant in the world. After the U.S. Department of Energy (USDOE) raised concerns about the project in media reports late yesterday, Governor Blagojevich requested a meeting with Secretary Bodman to discuss how to move the project forward so East Central Illinois communities can benefit from the economic boost, and so the whole nation and the world can benefit from the landmark clean coal innovations.
FutureGen, a coal gasification facility, will convert coal into hydrogen and electricity, while capturing and safely storing the greenhouse gas carbon dioxide deep underground. It will lay the groundwork for developing similar plants around the country and the world, pioneering the capture and storage of greenhouse gases.
“Illinois is ready to get to work to ensure that the FutureGen project is a success and moves ahead on schedule. The State of Illinois and the FutureGen Alliance have upheld our commitments to support FutureGen by dedicating tens of millions of dollars to guarantee its success,” wrote Governor Blagojevich. “The FutureGen project is too important, nationally and internationally, to be put in jeopardy. Statements by the U.S. Department of Energy yesterday suggested that the project might be delayed. I am concerned that any delays will only drive up costs and postpone the benefits FutureGen promises to deliver. In fact, the FutureGen Alliance stated that every month of delay will drive up costs by $10 million per month. I urge the Department of Energy to work with us to move FutureGen forward as planned.”
After a rigorous site review process, Mattoon was selected Tuesday over three competing locations by the FutureGen Alliance, which is developing the facility for the U.S. Department of Energy (USDOE). The Mattoon FutureGen facility will be built on 444 acres of land located one mile northwest of the city.
Mattoon’s selection was the result of close cooperation among government and economic development leaders in East Central Illinois who worked hand in hand with experts from the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity’s (DCEO) Office of Coal Development, the Illinois State Geological Survey-University of Illinois, Southern Illinois University and the Illinois Clean Coal Institute. Together they presented a compelling case to USDOE and the Alliance that central Illinois has the best geology, infrastructure, research facilities and community support to ensure FutureGen’s success.
Governor Blagojevich also built a coalition of states supporting Illinois’ bid for FutureGen. The states of Indiana, Kentucky, Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, West Virginia and Wyoming all endorsed locating FutureGen in Mattoon or Tuscola. The Illinois Congressional delegation and the Illinois state legislature also played crucial roles in securing FutureGen by working diligently in a bi-partisan fashion to ensure the FutureGen remained a national and state priority.
In addition to placing Illinois at the center of clean coal energy innovation and furthering the revitalization of the Illinois coal industry, FutureGen will have a significant economic impact on the region and state. According to a recent study by Southern Illinois University-Carbondale, the project will have a much larger impact than the 1,300 construction jobs and 150 permanent jobs the USDOE estimates will be created. The study showed that during the four-year construction period, there would be more than $1 billion in economic impact statewide and 1,225 indirect and induced spin-off jobs created as a result of the economic ripple effect generated by FutureGen. Once the facility is operational, the study noted that FutureGen would generate $135 million annually in total statewide economic output, with an $85 million annual increase in Coles County alone. FutureGen will also create an additional 360 indirect and induced full-time jobs statewide, according to the report.
The $1.5 billion FutureGen project, a government-private partnership, will build of a near-zero emission, integrated gasification combined cycle power plant that will capture and store 90 percent of the plant’s carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions. By sequestering the CO2 in deep geological reservoirs more than one mile underground in the Mt. Simon Sandstone reservoir, emissions of this greenhouse gas to the atmosphere are eliminated, avoiding the global climate change impacts of the CO2. FutureGen will be a first-of-its-kind facility to fully integrate carbon sequestration while also eliminating many of the other emissions associated with coal use in conventional coal-fueled power plants. It will be a world-class research facility that will greatly expand our understanding of clean coal technology and of carbon sequestration to avoid global climate change. The deep Mt. Simon has performed well as a natural gas storage reservoir in Illinois, and scientists expect the same for performance for CO2 storage at Mattoon.
Construction of the project is expected to begin in 2010, with full-scale operations beginning in 2013. For more information on FutureGen, please visit www.FutureGenForIllinois.com