An artist's rendering illustrates the FutureGen plant; DOE pulled the plugin the power project.
An artist’s rendering illustrates the FutureGen plant; DOE pulled the plugin the power project.

The Obama Administration has suspended development funding for the billion-dollar landmark proposed project FutureGen 2.0, America’s first near-zero emissions coal-fueled power plant project that would capture and store carbon dioxide.

A U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) spokesperson said that the project’s earmark, which had been in the form of stimulus funding, had been suspended to “best protect taxpayer interests.”

FutureGen, which developers had hoped would come online around 2017, would have been the only fully integrated carbon capture and storage project in the world. There are 22 carbon capture and storage projects in operation or construction globally, and the International Energy Agency initially called for at least 100 projects by 2020.

The Meredosia, Illinois, project’s first design was unveiled under the Clinton Administration’s Vision 21 program and was introduced to the public by the Bush Administration in 2003. It was first shelved in 2008 after losing DOE support and becoming increasingly expensive, and, in the opinion of some, succumbing to political pressure.

The reimagined FutureGen 2.0 project was unveiled in 2010. The suspension of the $1 billion in DOE funding has now left FutureGen essentially dead, as the FutureGen Alliance has no other way to make up the shortfall.

One producer and supporter quick to speak out was Peabody Energy; Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Gregory Boyce is now urging the administration to reconsider.

“It makes no sense to pull the plug on $1 billion committed to America’s signature near-zero emissions power project at such a critical time for these investments in technology,” he said.