DOE Pulls Plug On FutureGen | Chemical & Engineering News
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Web Date: January 30, 2008

DOE Pulls Plug On FutureGen

Illinois lawmakers promise fight to save cutting-edge energy project
Department: Government & Policy

The Department of Energy has decided to withdraw its support for FutureGen, a showcase, $1.75 billion, near-zero emissions, coal-fired power plant that had been scheduled for start-up in 2012 in Mattoon, Ill.

Several members of the Illinois congressional delegation say DOE Secretary Samuel W. Bodman told them Tuesday that the department will pursue other options and plans to disband the public-private partnership that is designing the plant. Three-quarters of the money was to have come from DOE, and the rest from a coalition of power and coal companies known as the FutureGen Alliance.

"After our meeting, it is clear that Secretary Bodman has misled the people of Illinois, creating false hope in a FutureGen project which DOE has no intention of funding or supporting," Sen. Richard Durbin (D-Ill.) said in a statement. "In 25 years on Capitol Hill, I have never witnessed such a cruel deception."

Durbin says the Illinois delegation is going to make the case for FutureGen directly to the White House. "We will not go down without a fight," he declares.

DOE says it remains committed to clean coal, but rising costs and advances in technology since the FutureGen project was announced in 2003 necessitate a reassessment.

"We remain committed to advancing FutureGen's important objectives and are insuring the appropriate due diligence in pursuing a restructured approach that maximizes technological advances over the past five years and harnesses private sector innovation, facilitates the most productive public-private partnership, and prevents further cost escalation," DOE says in a statement. "We plan to announce further details in the coming days."

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