Times Reporter

May 10, 2006

12 in running for FutureGen - Tuscarawas County one of two sites being considered - along with Meigs County

By Paul M. Krawzak
Copley News Service

WASHINGTON – Fewer states than expected are bidding to become the site of the revolutionary FutureGen power plant, a $1 billion project sought by Tuscarawas County.

The U.S. Energy Department announced Tuesday that 12 sites in seven states made proposals for the world’s first coal-fueled, near zero-emissions plant.

Among the 12 hopefuls are two sites in Ohio – Tuscarawas County and Meigs County. The state of Ohio submitted separate proposals for the two counties.

U.S. Energy Secretary Samuel Bodman called FutureGen “a stepping stone toward a cleaner, more energy secure future. We are extremely pleased that we have 12 quality locations now in the running,” he said in a prepared statement.

As many as 22 sites in nine states had been expected to offer proposals before last Thursday’s deadline.

FutureGen Alliance, a group of coal and electric utilities, including Columbus-based American Electric Power, is partnering with the Energy Department to design and build the plant. The alliance board will choose the site of the plant.

Other states competing for the project are Illinois, which proposed four sites; Texas, with two; and Kentucky, North Dakota, West Virginia and Wyoming, each proposing a single site.

The project, announced by President Bush three years ago, would use a new technology to capture or prevent the formation of pollutants that result from the burning of coal.

Construction of the plant would create as many as 1,300 jobs paying a total of $250 million, while the plant would have a permanent work force of 150, officials said.

Every one of the nation’s 26 coal-producing states had expressed some level of interest in the project, said John Grasser, spokesman for the Department of Energy. He said Ohio, Illinois and Texas have been most visible in the competition.

One key criteria for selecting a site involves its geologic suitability for permanent underground storage of carbon dioxide produced by the plant. The alliance also will look at the site’s access to water, coal delivery and electric transmission lines.

The energy department is due to release a list of finalist sites this summer, followed by selection of a winning site in fall 2007.

The alliance board anticipates three to five finalists will be named, but Peabody Energy executive Frederick Palmer, a member of the board, said a different number is possible.