Well, that was fast: It was little more than a week ago that we'd heard that a government-industry alliance was getting set to pump $1.76 billion into a so-called "clean coal" power plant in Illinois; now, because of cost issues, the DOE seems to be backpedaling on its commitment.
Earth2Tech's Craig Rubens reports that:
This wouldn't be the first time FutureGen has gotten bogged down in technical and financial issues. Earlier this year, a group of influential scientists hit out at the federal government for the slow progress being made in funding carbon capture and sequestration (CCS) trials, singling out FutureGen for being too little, too late (their analysis, The Future of Coal, can be found here).
"The statement has blindsided FutureGen's carbon capture and sequestration hopes. The release says the DoE has been discussing the project's cost with FutureGen for months. DoE wants a reassessment of the projected cost overruns and wants to see a "restructuring" in FutureGen."
According to the government's estimates, the Illinois plant would've been able to produce 275 MW of electricity by 2013 - with only 10% of the carbon dioxide emitted by modern coal-fired plants. The government-funded plant would've been one of 12 proposed plants in the works using the integrated gasification-combined cycled (IGCC) technology.
In a recent interview, Mike Mudd, CEO of FutureGen, said that "every month of delay can add $10 million to the project's cost, solely due to inflation" - hardly small change considering that the project has already been delayed numerous times since its original inception.
All eyes will be on the DOE next month when it (hopefully) deliberates on the project's future status.