Reporting from Illinois Public Radio's Sean Crawford used in this report.
Yet another change has been announced regarding the long awaited FutureGen coal project. Ameren's announcement over the summer that it was closing a coal fired power plant in Meredosia, Ill. was more than just a normal business decision. It cast doubt on the FutureGen project since that Morgan County plant was to be retrofitted and used to demonstrate a different way to use coal.
The coalition of groups backing the project, known as the FutureGen Alliance, is now negotiating with Ameren to buy the plant.
"Any of these projects is complex and there are always a number of hurdles you have to get over," Ken Humphreys, the Alliance's CEO, said. "Certainly the changing of Ameren's role is a hurdle but I think there continues to be a path forward there."
Humphreys says FutureGen is still on track to be operating by 2016. FutureGen would burn coal, capture emissions like carbon dioxide, and send them through a pipeline to another location in Morgan County where they would be stored far underground. FutureGen has already gone through changes, including being scaled back in size from the original plan.