MADISON – Governor Rod R. Blagojevich today announced that Abengoa Bioenergy of Illinois LLC in Madison County has received a $4 million Renewable Fuels Development grant to help build a new $200 million-plus ethanol production facility in Southwest Illinois. The new biorefinery will support Governor Blagojevich’s drive for energy independence and will create over 60 new permanent jobs for the Southwest Region, as well as 250 construction jobs. The Renewable Fuels Development Program is administered through the state’s Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity (DCEO).
“By investing in ethanol and other renewable fuels, we are increasing our energy independence, creating jobs and helping to secure Illinois’ future,” said Governor Blagojevich. “This new ethanol plant represents the next generation of ethanol production in Illinois – using less energy while producing less carbon emissions – and will be one of the cleanest and most efficient facilities in the country.”
The new facility will be an 88 million gallon per year ethanol production facility, located in Madison, Illinois. The facility will use about 32 million bushels of corn annually. The plant will incorporate the latest energy conservation technologies and efficiencies to reduce emissions, energy consumption and ethanol production costs.
The contractor for the facility, Abener Engineering and Construction Services, will employ the most efficient technologies available on the market today to reduce inputs such as water, natural gas and electricity to reduce conventional corn to ethanol process technology costs. The plant will also use the most advanced available emission reduction technologies. This facility will use a third less natural gas to produce 1 gallon of ethanol than the average ethanol production facility built only 5 years ago, which will significantly reduce the amount of harmful gas emitted into the air. Construction of the facility is expected to be completed by the end of 2009.
“Abengoa Bioenergy appreciates the support of Governor Blagojevich and the state of Illinois for this project,” said Javier Salgado, President and CEO of Abengoa Bioenergy. “This grant will greatly help with the construction of this state-of-the-art ethanol production facility and shows how strongly Illinois is backing biofuels production.”
“Energy independence starts at home with Midwestern crops and Illinois working women and men. The Illinois Labor movement is happy to be partners with the Illinois Agri-business to loosen the stranglehold of foreign energy supplies in our economy,” said Michael T. Carrigan, president, Illinois AFL-CIO.
“Americans are sending $2 billion a day overseas for imported oil, so programs like Illinois’ Renewable Fuels Development Program represent an investment in our rural economy with immediate returns. We are fortunate to have leaders in Illinois who realize cultivating a domestic ethanol industry makes us less dependent on these foreign energy sources, thus improving our national security,” said Art Bunting, Illinois Corn Growers Association president.
“This investment reinforces our strong commitment to biofuels development in Illinois,” said State Senator James Clayborne (D-East St. Louis). The Abengoa plant will be one of the first of its kind in the nation that will specifically address some of the challenges associated with climate change. In addition, this project will enhance the state’s energy independence and bring dozens of new jobs to the region.”
“Illinois has supported traditional development of biofuels for many years. Abengoa’s new facility will be the first step in helping to advance the next generation of biofuels production. We need to aggressively support this growing industry to continue growing our economy in a way that is forward thinking and environmentally responsible,” said State Representative Dan Beiser (D-Alton).
“Southwest Illinois is an ideal location to host this unique facility because of our unparalleled location, Illinois’ reputation as an industry leader, and the state’s overwhelming support of this project. We recognize that investing in renewable fuels is not only good for the environment, but also good for business,” State Representative Tom Holbrook (D-Belleville) said.
“It is imperative that we continue to support and fund ethanol production sites such as Abengoa Bioenergy so we can become less dependent on foreign oil,” stated State Representative Jay Hoffman (D-Collinsville). “The Abengoa Bioenergy ethanol manufacturing plant will be significant in the economic growth of this region. It will bring new jobs and new life to Granite City and the surrounding area.”
The new Abengoa ethanol production facility will be located near the National Corn to Ethanol Research Center (NCERC) at Southern Illinois University- Edwardsville and is expected to use the facility for research and development purposes that could further increase production efficiency and reduce production costs.
“Under Governor Blagojevich’s leadership, Illinois continues to be a leader in the production and utilization of clean, home-grown ethanol. This new, high-tech facility is helping to lead the way for cleaner, more efficient ethanol production in the United States, which will benefit our environment and our state economy. We appreciate the support of the city of Madison, county of Madison, Tri-City Port District, the Regional Commerce and Growth Association, and other regional partners in bringing this project to fruition,” said Jack Lavin, Director of the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity.
The Renewable Fuels Development Program was established in June 2003 by Governor Blagojevich under the Renewable Fuels Development Act (Public Act 93-0015). The program is designed to increase the production of ethanol and biodiesel fuels in Illinois and expand the market and demand for Illinois agricultural products.
The Opportunity Returns regional economic development plan is the most aggressive, comprehensive approach to creating jobs in Illinois’ history. Since a one-size-fits-all approach to economic development just doesn’t work, the Governor has divided the state into 10 regions – finding areas with common economic strengths and needs, and developing a plan with specific actions for each region. This grassroots effort is a product of significant outreach over several months with business, civic and labor leaders, and elected officials. Opportunity Returns contains tangible actions to make each region more accessible, more marketable, more entrepreneurial and more attractive to business.