Energy Dept. Gives Up Plan to Build Clean-Coal Power Plant
At the time of the announcement on Wednesday, the facility was estimated to cost $1.8 billion, and DoE said the costs had doubled since it was originally conceived.
Rather than pour funds into the single FutureGen site in Mattoon, energy secretary Samuel Bodman said his department would explore ways of developing clean-coal and carbon sequestration (CCS) technologies in multiple sites around the country.
The announcement was predictably not well received among Illinois officials and leaders of the companies behind the FutureGen plant.
"We feel that [Energy Secretary Sam Bodman] misled us and the people of Illinois, creating false hope in a FutureGen project which he had no intention of funding or supporting," Illinois lawmakers including Democratic Sen. Dick Durbin wrote in a letter to President George W. Bush.
The FutureGen Alliance, made up of about a dozen international energy companies, also released a "fact check" to Bodman's announcement, stating in part that the DoE's share of the plant has not doubled, but rather only increased from $800M to $1.1B, and that the alternative plan, centered around multiple CCS facilities, would end up sequestering less carbon than the Mattoon plant.
The Energy Department said it would consider four total sites -- two in Texas and two in Illinois, including the Mattoon site -- as possible hosts for the new projects. The FutureGen Alliance said it remained committed to the Mattoon site.
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