WASHINGTON, DC - The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) issued its Draft Environmental Impact Statement for the FutureGen Project for public comment. The report provides information about the potential environmental impacts of the project and marks a major milestone towards the realization of the world's cleanest coal-fueled power plant.
The draft Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) offers a comprehensive evaluation of possible environmental consequences of the groundbreaking project and suggests mitigation options that may be required as FutureGen moves forward. Since DOE proposes to provide Federal funding to the FutureGen Alliance, Inc., the information in this report will be used to determine the next steps toward the design, construction, and operation of the FutureGen facility.
The Office of Fossil Energy's National Energy Technology Laboratory will oversee the FutureGen project as it is implemented by the FutureGen Alliance, Inc.
The FutureGen project was initiated in response to the National Energy Policy of May 2001, which emphasized the need for diverse and secure energy sources that could largely be provided by America's most abundant domestic energy resource, coal.
FutureGen gained momentum with the National Climate Change Technology Initiative of 2001 and the Hydrogen Fuel Initiative of 2003. These initiatives helped shape the FutureGen concept with their aims to reduce the Nation's greenhouse gas emissions from coal-fueled energy production and to establish the United States as a world leader in developing the advanced technologies needed for the world's energy supply.
Today, the FutureGen project is a partnership between DOE and FutureGen Alliance, Inc. - a non-profit consortium of some of the largest coal producers and electricity generators in the world - with the common goal to design, build, and operate a revolutionary coal gasification-based, near zero-emissions power plant that co-produces electricity and hydrogen gas. The 275-megawatt prototype plant will also serve as a large-scale engineering laboratory for testing advanced technologies for clean power, carbon capture, and coal-to-hydrogen innovations. The pioneering facility will operate with an eye toward the future, and it will be the first fossil fuel-fired power plant to capture its carbon dioxide gas emissions and store this gas in reservoirs deep underground.
In developing the draft EIS, DOE considered comments received at public meetings that were held in or near the four potential FutureGen sites: Mattoon, Ill.; Tuscola, Ill.; Jewett, Tex.; and Odessa, Tex. Hosted by DOE, these meetings identified areas of interest ranging from impacts on air quality and water resources to noise issues and impacts on the surrounding community.
DOE invites the public to comment on the draft EIS, and this input will be considered when preparing the final EIS. Interested parties should submit comments to DOE by July 16, 2007. DOE will also conduct a public hearing near each site to gather comments from the public. Locations and dates will be announced in a Federal Register notice and in the local media.