Durbin Says Illinois Must Seize Opportunities for Clean Energy Jobs

[TAYLORVILLE, IL] – U.S. Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL) today said that Illinois now stands “at a crossroads” when it comes to the future of energy and the creation of good-paying jobs. He said that two projects – the Taylorville Energy Center and FutureGen 2.0 – will mean good-paying jobs, increased economic activity and provide important environmental benefits. But Durbin said federal, state and community leaders must act now before the opportunities pass us by.


“Earlier today, I met with community leaders from Taylorville and Tenaska regarding the proposed Taylorville Energy Center, a state-of-the art project to convert Illinois coal into clean burning natural gas and electricity. And for weeks I have been in on-going discussions with the U.S. Department of Energy about the FutureGen 2.0 project’” said Durbin. “If you look at the potential for job creation, for providing clean domestic energy and for positioning our state as a world leader in clean energy production – these are truly opportunities Illinois cannot afford to miss. For these two projects alone, we are talking about 3,500 construction jobs and more than 300 permanent jobs in the short term. In the long run, we may be talking about tens of thousands of jobs for our state.”


For FutureGen 2.0, the Department of Energy will provide $1.1 billion dollars in federal funding to establish a CO2 storage site and a CO2 pipeline line from Meredosia, Illinois to that site. A vacant power plant in Meredosia will be repowered and retooled (the plan is to swap out a boiler in the 200-megawatt plant, replace it with one that can capture CO2 and pipe the resulting gas deep underground.)


In the past few weeks, the Department of Energy has been contacted by more than two dozen Illinois communities interested in hosting the sequestration, research and training facilities for the FutureGen 2.0 CO2 pipeline network. The new pipeline network and repository lays the foundation for a regional CO2 network that could serve as a model for the nation.


The Department of Energy in cooperation with the Department of Labor and the Illinois Building Trades Council will also develop a regional training center to train workers in building and re-powering coal-fired power stations with advanced technologies. These will be clean energy jobs for generations to come.


According to the study submitted to the General Assembly, the proposed Taylorville Energy Center will create nearly 2,500 jobs in the construction phase and 155 permanent jobs once the plant is up and running. FutureGen 2.0 is expected to generate more than 1,000 construction jobs to downstate Illinois and another 1,000 jobs in businesses supplying the construction effort. FutureGen 2.0 will also generate a host of permanent jobs here in Illinois – 75 permanent jobs at the state-of-the-art storage facility, 50 permanent jobs at the retro-fitted Meredosia plant and 50 permanent jobs at the regional training center.


And according to the U.S. Department of Energy, the technology for repowering and retrofitting plants derived from FutureGen 2.0 could lead to a decade-long project of repowering and retrofitting plants creating more than 30,000 jobs in Illinois over the next ten years.


“With both FutureGen 2.0 and the Taylorville Energy Center, the state of Illinois is poised to become a world leader in cutting-edge technology that will improve the environment and create good-paying jobs,” said Durbin.