It only took the coal utility Ameren $786,000 in political donations to be on the receiving end of almost $1 billon from the Department of Energy for the development of the ultimate oxymoron–a clean coal plant. According to industry claims, FutureGen will develop technology allowing for carbon dioxide capture and underground storage, making it the first near-zero emissions power plant.
However, there are many reasons to question the safety and efficacy of FutureGen. Successful carbon dioxide capture and sequestration has never been achieved on a large scale and has been dubbed the absolute least efficient way to reduce emissions. In fact, compared to conventional power plants, carbon capture plants require 25% more energy to operate, even without taking into consideration the energy cost of transporting and burying the CO-2.
Greenpeace International published an exhaustive report titled “False Hope; why carbon capture and sequestration won’t save the planet,” illustrating the myths of Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS). Furthermore, according to scientists’ estimates, CCS technology will not be widely available until 2050. Clearly, $1 Billion could have been better spent on existing and more promising technologies such as wind and solar power.
Despite all the evidence, Illinois Senator Dick Durbin (fondly nicknamed Dirty Dick), has been a passionate proponent of FutureGen, lauding the many jobs it will bring to the area. His praise is understandable, considering he has received almost $135000 in political donations from Ameren and other Big Coal interests