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Frerichs promotes FutureGen plant

SPRINGFIELD, IL – State Senator Michael Frerichs (D-Champaign) advanced legislation out of the Senate Energy Committee this week designed to aid in the creation and sustainability of the FutureGen clean-coal facility in Mattoon. Frerichs’ bill ensures that the facility has power purchase agreements in place that will cover the facility’s operating costs. "This project has the potential to push Illinois to the forefront of alternative energy," Frerichs said. "We have the most nuclear facilities of any state in the nation, we are investing in new wind farms and solar technology; it’s time for us to utilize clean-coal as well. This is a first-of-its-kind facility and could become the industry standard."

The FutureGen project will produce economical, coal-fueled electricity by utilizing an advanced carbon capture technique. This energy will be converted and sold at a commercial rate. By utilizing coal to power the plant during the carbon capture process, the power plant will operate with near-zero emission levels.

House Bill 4182 requires the Department of Central Management Services (CMS) to purchase the full electrical output of the FutureGen facility. Currently the federal Department of Energy (DOE) is looking to build the plant in Mattoon and has pledged $1 billion of the $1.5 billion required to build the plant. But before the DOE moves forward with the project, it would like the State to have power purchase contracts to offset the operating costs in place before it will grant final approval and release the $1 Billion.

"By taking this step to ensure the purchasing contracts, we are expediting the timeframe to have this facility built," Frerichs said. "We know that building the FutureGen facility will create a significant amount of construction jobs and several hundred sustainable jobs once it is up and running. With the statewide unemployment rate growing everyday, it is vital that we do everything in our power to create more jobs and get people back to work."

The project is a public-private partnership between the DOE and the FutureGen Alliance. The facility has the potential to drastically reduce the State’s carbon footprint. By generating 275 megawatts of electricity, it will be capable of powering about 150,000 homes.