Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Illinois Coal Gasification Hits A Lump In the Road

Nebraska based Tenaska, Inc. ran over another lump in the road to construction and operation of its proposed $3.5 billion coal gasification plant in Taylorville, Illinois, when Illinois EPA acquiesced in USEPA’s request for reconsideration of the emissions permit for the proposed facility earlier this week. The 716 megawatt generation facility is proposed to provide power for 600,000 homes. Illinois EPA’s initial permitting determination failed to require carbon dioxide emissions from the plant to be sequestered, based on IEPA’s determination that carbon capture and sequestration is not feasible at the site. USEPA says carbon capture technology is feasible, and asked IEPA to reconsider any site specific uncertainties before omitting a sequestration requirement from the permit.

Meanwhile, Tenaska faced another failure in the Illinois legislature to cram down 30 year take or pay power purchase agreements on the utilities which would buy power from the proposed plant. During the regular legislative session, Tenaska even floated the idea of initially operating the power generators with cheap natural gas until the legislature can agree on compromise take or pay requirements for the electric utilities. Massive opposition to coal gasification from environmental groups and to 30 year take or pay contracts from the Illinois business community sunk the legislative proposal, and Tenaska’s lobbyists went back to Omaha when the legislative session ended with no resolution to their four year campaign.

Coal gasification may be an energy technology whose time has come, but it hasn’t come to Illinois just yet.

blog comments powered by Disqus