State Journal Register
July 26, 2006
a winner in FutureGen competition
By Paul M. Krawzak
Copley News Service
WASHINGTON - Illinois, along with Texas, was the big preliminary
winner in a national competition to land the world's first
near-zero-emissions coal-burning power plant.
The FutureGen Alliance, a non-profit organization made up of
some of the world's leading energy companies, announced Tuesday
it chose sites in Mattoon and Tuscola, Ill., and Jewett and
Odessa, Texas, as finalists for the experimental facility.
Illinois, which had more entrants than any other state - with a
total of four - also saw two of its sites eliminated, along with
six others from Ohio, Kentucky, North Dakota, West Virginia and
Proposals in Effingham and Marshall, Ill., failed to make the
short list. FutureGen officials said the finalist sites share
advantages such as proximity to electrical transmission lines,
thick sandstone for the storage of wastes generated by energy
production and plentiful land.
The four will compete over the next year for the grand prize -
selection as the location for a model coal-burning plant that is
scheduled to open in 2012 and would release virtually no
greenhouse gases or pollutants.
The alliance is partnering with the U.S. Department of Energy to
design and build the facility.
Gov. Rod R. Blagojevich praised the selection, which he said
shows that "Illinois coal can meet our future energy demands
using cutting-edge technology that protects our environment and
puts more people to work."
"We have the coal, the geology and the strong support on the
federal, state and local level for brining the world's cleanest
coal plant to Illinois," he said. Rep. John Shimkus,
R-Collinsville, said he was "thrilled that Illinois landed two
of the final four sites."
A member of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, Shimkus
said he has been working to locate the facility in Illinois
since President Bush introduced the project in 2003.
The alliance said the Mattoon and Tuscola proposals, in addition
to meeting basic requirements, demonstrated the ability to
obtain rights of way for electrical transmission lines, water,
gas and carbon dioxide pipelines in a timely manner. The
Effingham site was actually the fourth highest scorer. But it
was eliminated because of its relatively small size - 270 acres
- and the long, narrow configuration of the site, the alliance
said in a report released Tuesday night. The Marshall site drew
low scores for proximity to sensitive areas, distance to
transmission lines and other measures.
State officials said the Illinois sites that failed to make the
cut still may benefit because they have laid the groundwork to
attract successors to the FutureGen project.
FutureGen officials said many of the competing sites that did
not meet the "stringent" standards for the initial experimental
plant might qualify for similar minimal-emission plants in the
Officials said even if an Illinois site does not emerge as the
choice, the state would benefit because it is a leading coal
producer and user. The FutureGen plant will be designed to burn
both Eastern and Western types of coal.
Mike Mudd, chief executive officer of the alliance, insisted
politics played no part in the decision, which he said was based
on an evaluation using almost 100 technical criteria.