SPRINGFIELD — The list of communities vying to play a role in a revamped clean-coal project known as Futuregen has been pared to four.
In an announcement Monday, potential sites were narrowed to Douglas, Christian, Fayette and Morgan counties. Eliminated from the competition for the potentially job-rich plum were the city of Quincy and Pike County.
“That’s fabulous news, obviously,” said Mary Renner of the Christian County Economic Development Corp., which is lobbying for a site near Taylorville, where Nebraska-based Tenaska also wants to build a power plant.
“My phone has been lighting up,” said Brian Moody, who is leading Douglas County’s bid for the $1 billion project.
The FutureGen Alliance, which is a consortium of energy companies, has been working with the U.S. Department of Energy to develop an experimental, low-emission, coal-fired electric generator. The finalist would serve as a storage site for carbon dioxide created at an upgraded power plant in Meredosia.
A finalist could be chosen as early as February.
Moody said he thought the site in southern Douglas County would be in the running because it was a finalist in the search for an early version of FutureGen, which had initially been awarded to Mattoon. When plans changed, Mattoon pulled out as a possible site for the storage facility.
“We had always thought it was likely we would make an initial cut,” Moody said.
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Renner said the Taylorville area is rallying to be chosen because of the jobs the project could bring to the region. In addition to the underground storage facility, the project includes a visitor’s center, a research facility and a training area.
The proposed site in Fayette County is near Vandalia.
“We’re in it to win it,” Renner said.