State of Illinois, FutureGen Partners Highlight Significant Progress and Unwavering Commitment to Bring Project Home to Mattoon

MATTOON, Ill., Dec. 12 /PRNewswire/ — Illinois Department of Commerce and
Economic Opportunity Director Jack Lavin today assembled national, state and
local partners to announce new developments in the state’s effort to secure
the landmark FutureGen clean energy project. The progress report included new
geophysical data that confirm the suitability of the Mattoon host site to
securely store greenhouse gases captured from the world-class
coal-to-electricity project.

“The amazing team that worked for years to bring FutureGen to Illinois is
still moving the ball forward to make this critical project a reality,” said
Lavin. “With this effort, we’re making the best possible case to President-
elect Obama and his energy policy team that the path to energy independence
goes right through Mattoon, Illinois.”

Joining Lavin was Mike Mudd, CEO of the FutureGen Alliance, an
international coalition of leading energy companies that will build and
operate the $1.8 billion FutureGen facility. Also participating in the
announcement in downtown Mattoon were leaders of the Coles Together economic
development agency, the Illinois Clean Coal Review Board and the Illinois
State Geological Survey.

Nearly a year ago, Mattoon was chosen to host the FutureGen project after
a rigorous three-year site review process. Shortly after the announcement, the
United States Department of Energy (USDOE) abruptly suspended federal
government participation in the FutureGen project. For the past year, the
State of Illinois and Illinois supporters in Congress, led by Senator Richard
Durbin, have worked to sustain the project’s momentum until a new president
took office and FutureGen could be reauthorized.

Mudd was in Illinois to complete the purchase of the 400-plus-acre plant
site just west of Mattoon. The FutureGen Alliance and Coles Together recently
combined funds to purchase the site, using nearly $3 million raised locally by
Coles Together along with non-public Alliance funds provided by the group’s 13
member companies.

“The Alliance’s commitment to FutureGen at Mattoon is evidenced by all
that we have accomplished since USDOE’s cost sharing ceased in June,” Mudd
said. “Using the Alliance’s own financial resources, along with financial
support of the Clean Coal Review Board and the State of Illinois, we have
continued with the engineering and design of the plant, and we have purchased
the land upon which FutureGen at Mattoon will be constructed. With the ongoing
support of our advocates on Capitol Hill, we will work with the new
administration to put FutureGen at Mattoon back on the fast track.”

FutureGen has been designed to pioneer capture and underground storage of
greenhouse gases from a coal-fueled electric plant. The geo-physical test
results disclosed Friday confirm that FutureGen carbon dioxide output —
injected to a depth of 7,400 feet beneath the plant site — can be absorbed in
a thick layer of porous rock (the Mt. Simon sandstone) and kept in place by a
layer of unbroken, non-porous cap rock (the Eau Clair shale).

“This newly collected and analyzed geophysical data confirms the earlier
interpretation by the Illinois State Geological Survey that the bedrock at the
Mattoon site is very capable of long-term deep storage of carbon dioxide,”
said William Shilts, executive director of the Institute of Natural Resource
Sustainability (INRS) at the University of Illinois.

In addition to the geophysical tests, Lavin and Mudd reported on
significant progress over the past 12 months in developing scientific data
that will be needed to obtain permits for the plant and CO2 capture system, as
well as advanced design work on the coal gasification facility that will
produce 275 megawatts of electricity.

The State of Illinois and the public-private Illinois Clean Coal Review
Board each has committed $2 million to support ongoing scientific and
technical studies. The contributions have been critical in keeping FutureGen
at Mattoon within months of groundbreaking, and years ahead of any similar
initiative that would start from scratch.

“A year ago, FutureGen at Mattoon supporters from across the spectrum came
to the same conclusion — that this project was too important and too far
along for us to simply cease and desist,” said Angela Griffin, president of
Coles Together. “We have sustained our enthusiasm and, working together, we
have achieved an increased state of readiness.”

FutureGen is intended to lay the groundwork for similar plants around the
country and the world. It is important to Illinois and other coal states
because it advances near-zero emissions technology to pave the way for
America’s continued use of coal. At a time of rising unemployment, it also
creates jobs and economic growth.

Initial estimates state that 1,300 construction jobs and 150 permanent
jobs would be created through FutureGen. In addition, an SIU study showed that
during the four-year construction period, there would also be more than $1
billion in economic impact statewide and 1,225 indirect and induced spin-off
jobs created as a result of the ripple effect generated by FutureGen.

Once the facility is operational, the study pointed out that FutureGen
would generate $135 million annually in total statewide economic output, with
an $85 million annual increase in Coles County. It will also create an
additional 360 indirect and induced full-time jobs statewide, according to the


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