A Department of Energy (DOE) spokesperson said that the project’s earmark, which had been in the form of stimulus funding, had been suspended to “best protect taxpayer interests.”
FutureGen, which developers had hoped would come online around 2017, would have been the only fully integrated carbon capture and storage project in the world. There are 22 carbon capture and storage projects in operation or construction globally, and the International Energy Agency initially called for at least 100 projects by 2020.
The Meredosia, Illinois, project’s first design was unveiled under the Clinton Administration’s Vision 21 program and was introduced to the public by the Bush Administration in 2003. It was first shelved in 2008 after losing DOE support, becoming increasingly expensive and, in the opinion of some, succumbing to political pressure.
The reimagined FutureGen 2.0 project was unveiled in 2010. This week’s suspension of the $1 billion in DOE funding has now left FutureGen essentially dead, as the FutureGen Alliance has told various media outlets, they have no other way to make up the money.
One producer and supporter quick to speak out was Peabody Energy. Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Gregory Boyce urged the administration to reconsider.
“It makes no sense to pull the plug on $1 billion committed to America’s signature near-zero emissions power project at such a critical time for these investments in technology,” he said. “The administration has pledged $1 billion for advanced coal projects in China, and I urge them to support investments in the United States. We have the knowledge to advance low-carbon technologies to commercial scale and must demonstrate our leadership and our will.”