Wednesday, January 30, 2008

FutureGen - Bush administration backs away from project

On Monday, President Bush gave his final State of the Union address to the American people. During part of his speech, he stated that he wanted the US government to "fund new technologies that can generate coal power while capturing carbon emissions."

Yesterday, it was an about-face. The Bush administration via Energy Secretary Bodman announced that they "might drop its support" for the long planned FutureGen project. This project's focus is to design a coal power plant designed to store greenhouse gases underground. Current budget sits at $1.5 billion. Congress appropriated $108 million to this project just last year. This change of heart was covered by several major newspapers today, including the Washington Post.

Several states have been competing for the FutureGen project site, including Texas and Illinois. The latter received the project contract.

Senator Richard J. Durbine (D - Illinois), along with six other lawmakers, were the recipient of Bodeman's announcement yesterday in a meeting regarding project funding. Bodeman announced that the administration has decided to "consider other carbon sequestration projects instead."

Is the FutureGen dream going to end without the Bush administration support? Or, is this destined to become a privately funded project?

My personal opinion is that this project will continue, with or without support from the Bush administration. Coal is simply too abundant in the US to ignore as an every source. At the same time, we must come up with solutions to the dirty-nature of coal electricity is we want to be good stewards of our environment. FutureGen is a huge step toward solving this unfortunate pairing (large source, dirty source). I will be anxious to see which way the wind blows on this topic.

No comments: