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FutureGen Project May Get ‘Fresh Look’

futuregen2An Illinois clean-coal project that was tabled by the Bush Administration may get a second life under the new president.

The FutureGen project gained prominence for its promise to sequester CO2 emissions underground, and notoriety for a ballooning budget. Shortly before President Bush left office, the Department of Energy pulled plans for the $1.8 billion project.

New energy secretary Steven Chu said recently that FutureGen deserves a “fresh look.” While Chu is not making any guarantees, this week he said the plant may join several other projects that reduce emissions.

“To pick one and dump the rest is not a correct strategy,” Chu said. “We should be funding multiple projects.”

While Bush’s Energy Department estimated the FutureGen project would cost $1.8 billion, the Government Accounting Office more recently has said it should have been $1.3 billion. But Chu is not taking the GAO report as the final word. He said he has seen estimates as high as $2.3 billion.

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