In his statement, Bodman said that restructuring the FutureGen effort will leave IGCC plants to the private sector but will provide funding to coal-fired power plants to help them capture and sequester carbon dioxide. “After the restructuring, funding will be available to equip multiple new clean-coal power plants with advanced [carbon-capture and storage] technology–instead of just one demonstration plant,” he said. “These commercial plants … should each sequester at least one million metric tons of carbon dioxide annually.”
However, FutureGen supporters question the DOE’s motives, and they vow to fight on. Illinois governor Rod Blagojevich released a statement calling the DOE’s decision politically motivated: “Only after it became clear that an Illinois site would be chosen over a Texas site, the Department suggested the project be delayed and now, that it be dismantled.”
FutureGen Alliance executive director Michael Mudd says that his group will seek Congressional support to reverse the DOE’s decision. He believes that FutureGen is needed to make the next generation of IGCC plants more energy efficient and cost effective. “Right now, the [energy penalty] to add carbon capture and storage to a coal plant, whether it’s IGCC or [conventional] coal, is huge,” he says. “FutureGen is about trying to find a way to reduce that.”
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