Ameren backs out of clean coal project

Ameren Energy Resources has set a fresh challenge for the FutureGen clean coal project by pulling out of the initiative, which has received $1bn in government funding.

A unit at Ameren’s Meredosia power plant in Illinois is due to be retrofitted with oxy-combustion technology that captures 90 per cent of carbon dioxide emissions, which would then be piped to an underground storage site.

But Ameren has said it will break off at the year-end a co-operative agreement with the US Department of Energy (DOE), which has committed $1bn of stimulus funds to the project.

FutureGen Alliance, the project sponsor, said it will apply to the DOE to take over Ameren’s co-operative agreement.

The alliance also announced on 28 November that it is negotiating to buy a portion of the Meredosia power plant, which Ameren earlier announced it would close due to raised costs from new environmental standards.

Lawrence Pacheco, a spokesman for the alliance, told The Associated Press that Ameren’s pullback “does not change the schedule of the project”, with the plant expected to operate from 2016.

The FutureGen coalition puts the cost of upgrading the plant and building the pipeline and storage at $1.2bn.

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