The Yonder has followed the ups and downs of FutureGen, the high-tech, low emission coal plant that was to be built near Mattoon, Illinois. It was a big deal, a state of the art piece of clean coal technology and research put in a rural area. The $1.8 billion project was a go and then early this year the US Department of Energy announced FutureGen was past. The thing had gotten too dang expensive.
Now FutureGen is back. There is $1 billion in the stimulus package for the technology (thanks to all those Illinois people in the new administration and especially Sen. Richard Durbin, above). New Energy Secretary Steven Chu said he would support the project. “I have to say, there are many, many good things about it,” Chu told Washington Post reporter Kimberly Kindy.
FutureGen would burn coal to produce electricity and then pump its carbon dioxide emissions 7,500 below the surface. In a statement released on the Department of Energy’s website yesterday, Chu said, “Clean energy is the best opportunity we have to create jobs today and launch the industries of tomorrow.”