The Illinois Senate finally, but barely, green-lighted a $3.5 billion “clean coal” project in Central Illinois.  The Taylorville Energy Center, a project pushed by Nebraska-based Tenaska Energy, is one step closer to fruition after years of negotiations and several tries this year. Illinois Senate President John Cullerton (D-Chicago) says the state should invest more in coal gasification because it’ll replace aging plants that have or will shut down.

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“Since this bill was introduced, two facilities, Lawrenceville and Meredosia, have closed. Crawford and Fisk in Chicago are to be closed soon,” he says. “This bill is going to replace base load with what otherwise would have to be more expensive power.”  Opponents say a significant base load power loss over the next few years is a myth, and contend the plant’s guaranteed rate of return means consumers will pay more than market rate for electricity.  “This is a guaranteed return, folks, for 30 years, and a mandate that we have to buy power at an above-market rate. It doesn’t make any sense,” says State Sen. Kyle McCarter (R-Lebanon), one of the project's most vocal opponents.  The House earlier this year approved a similar measure, and must now approve this one.


(Illinois Radio Network)