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Secure Energy’s Decatur Gasification Plant, IL

STATUS: In progress

TYPE: Coal

OPPOSITION: Sierra Club

PROSPECTS: Unlikely

BACKGROUND: In January 2007, Secure Energy purchased a 24-acre site and building from Caterpillar Inc and announced plans for a coal-gasification plant that would convert up to 1.4 million tons a year of Illinois coal into pipeline quality natural gas. The developer projected plant construction cost at $800 million and estimated it would create approximately 86 full time jobs, 330 union construction jobs, 140 new coal mining jobs, and 90 new trucking jobs in the Decatur area.

Secure Energy was awarded an air permit by the Illinois EPA in April 2007 and the plant was scheduled to be operational by 2009.  However, financing proved to be an issue for this project.  Private investment apparently proved insufficient.  In April, 2009, the State of Illinois allocated $14 million for the plant under the Illinois Coal Revival Program.  In July 2009, the U.S. Department of Energy informed Secure Energy that it would not provide $647 million in loan guarantees as the company and a bipartisan, bi-state coalition of Senators and Representatives had requested.  As of November, 2010, the website for the plant remains live, but notes that “The design of the plant was changed in Jan. of 2010 to gasoline.”

To date, no construction activity has taken place and future prospects are unclear.  The facility has had political support in the past.  However, Sierra Club, which opposes all coal facilities nationwide, takes the position that the 2007 permits have expired and Secure Energy will need to reapply in order to start construction.

SOURCES: http://www.foxbusiness.com/story/markets/industries/industrials/press-release-secure-energy-announces-arrival-siemens-gasifiers/ http://www.reuters.com/article/pressRelease/idUS111889+15-Sep-2008+PRN20080915
http://secureenergyinc.com/index.html http://www.sierraclub.org/environmentallaw/coal/plantlist.aspx

LAST UPDATED: November 16, 2010