Ameren works out support deal for FutureGen coal project

Ameren Illinois on Feb. 10 filed with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission a Procurement Services Agreement between Ameren Services as agent for and on behalf of Ameren Illinois and the FutureGen Industrial Alliance.

FutureGen, with U.S Department of Energy backing, is endeavoring to construct a first-of-its-kind near-zero emissions power plant in Illinois. The FutureGen 2.0 project involves re-powering one of the boiler units at the shut Meredosia Energy Center, currently owned by AmerenEnergy Medina Valley Cogen LLC. This clean coal plant would use oxy-combustion technology to capture at least 90% of its carbon emissions and bringing other emissions to near-zero levels.

“The anticipated re-powering of Meredosia plant will require Ameren Illinois to relocate certain lines and facilities in and around the existing site,” the Feb. 10 filing noted. “The Procurement Agreement permits Ameren Illinois to begin procurement services to acquire the materials required for that work, in advance of full interconnection service.”

The agreement requires FutureGen to pay Ameren Illinois its actual costs incurred to procure certain material for the relocation work, and makes FutureGen liable for certain termination costs related to an early termination of such procurement.

The project is working through various needed approvals. For example, DOE said Jan. 15 that, based on a record of decision issued Jan. 13, it has decided to provide financial assistance to the alliance for the project. The record of decision approves the final environmental impact statement for the 168-MWe project.

DOE will provide about $1bn of cost-shared through cooperative agreements with the Alliance. FutureGen 2.0 is a public-private partnership formed for the purpose of developing the world’s first commercial-scale, oxy-combustion electric generation project integrated with carbon capture and geologic storage. The captured CO2 will be transported through an approximately 30-mile pipeline to wells where it will be injected around 4,000 feet below ground into a geologic saline formation for permanent storage.

The repowered unit would include oxy-combustion and carbon capture technologies provided by the Babcock & Wilcox Power Generation Group and Air Liquide Process and Construction. Members of the Alliance include some of the largest coal producers, coal users, and coal equipment suppliers in the world.

The DOE-funded demonstration period will last for 56 months from the start of operations (approximately 2017) through 2022. After that, the project would need to operate on its own, without DOE support.

About Barry Cassell 20414 Articles
Barry Cassell is Chief Analyst for GenerationHub covering coal and emission controls issues, projects and policy. He has covered the coal and power generation industry for more than 24 years, beginning in November 2011 at GenerationHub and prior to that as editor of SNL Energy’s Coal Report. He was formerly with Coal Outlook for 15 years as the publication’s editor and contributing writer, and prior to that he was editor of Coal & Synfuels Technology and associate editor of The Energy Report. He has a bachelor’s degree from Central Michigan University.