STATUS: In progress with opposition
OPPOSITION: Sierra Club
PROSPECTS: Prolonged delay
BACKGROUND: FutureGen was a proposed $2.4 billion coal plant to produce 275 megawatts of electricity and sequester CO2 emissions in deep geologic formations thousands of feet below Earth's surface, removing 90 percent of emissions produced by a typical coal plant. The facility was originally planned for Matoon, Illinois. The project was first announced by President Bush in 2003 as a demonstration partnership between industry and the Department of Energy (DOE). Due to schedule delays and rapidly increasing costs, DOE backed out of the project in 2008.
On June 12, 2009, the DOE announced a restart of design work for the FutureGen project. On August 5, 2010, the DOE announced “FutureGen 2.0”, including the commitment of $1 billion in federal stimulus funding to support development. The revised plan includes retrofitting a shuttered coal-fired power plant in Meredosia, Illinois to demonstrate advanced oxy-combustion technology, and piping the carbon dioxide for underground storage. In late September 2010, DOE announced operating agreements with Ameren Corp. and the FutureGen Industrial Alliance. Due to these changes, elected leaders in Mattoon (the original plant location) withdrew from the project. The DOE is “interviewing” other communities to serve as the CO2 disposal locations. The earliest potential complete date is 2015.
Sierra Club opposed the project during the Bush Administration. However, it seems to have muted its opposition during the Obama Administration.
LAST UPDATED: November 15, 2010