Tuesday is a big day in the world of coal. That's the day FutureGen will announce its site selection for a next-generation coal-burning plant to generate electricity, with almost zero emissions. In keeping with the current Washington modus, the project is being largely paid for by federal tax dollars (3/4 of total costs), yet the decision on site selection is being left to a consortium of more than a dozen large coal companies and utilities. Think of this as subsidized private enterprise. If this plant works, the current economic theory believes these utilities and coal barons would then go ahead and build more such non-polluting plants using their own money. Sort of an coal industry's Field of Dreams. Built it and they....
In the running are two sites in Illinois, two in Texas. Now, lemme see, isn't there somebody powerful in Washington with a lot of personal ties to Texas? Guess, we'll find out just how powerful on Tuesday.
The project's projected cost is now nearing two billion, nearly double original estimates when it was first conceived a decade ago. And you taxpayers are paying for it. The coal industry thanks you for your loyal support and understanding.
The FutureGen diagram above shows how the new plant would work, in many parts of the plant using technology not yet tested under commercial conditions.