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December 17, 2002

Governor Ryan Grants Permit For New Coal-Fired Electric Plant

SPRINGFIELD – Governor George H. Ryan today announced the issuance of a construction permit for the first new mine-mouth coal-fired electric plant in Illinois in more than three decades – a 91-megawatt project Corn Belt Energy Corporation plans to build in southern Logan County.

“This administration has had an ongoing commitment to Illinois coal,” said Governor Ryan. “The Corn Belt Generation Cooperative Power Plant project is just one of several promising proposals that will benefit the coal industry.”

Corn Belt, an electric cooperative headquartered in Bloomington, will build the $147 million plant adjacent to the Turris Coal Company mine near Elkhart. The air pollution control construction permit was issued by the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency.

The Corn Belt Generation Cooperative Power Plant’s advanced U-fired boiler system, supplied by Babcock-Borsig Power, will be one of the most advanced clean-coal boiler systems in the nation. The boiler is designed to maintain high thermal efficiency while minimizing emissions. It is the first new coal-fired boiler in the state equipped with a selective catalytic reduction (SCR) system to control NOx as part of its original design.

“The innovative technology to be used at the new plant exemplifies Illinois’ goal of developing clean burning technology that allows Illinois coal to be used without compromising air quality,” noted Illinois EPA Director Renee Cipriano.

The Corn Belt Generation Cooperative Power Plant project is part of a U.S. Department of Energy test program to develop technology that will enhance the use of coal nationally.

The proposed project will use approximately 380,000 tons of coal per year and create more than 50 new jobs for the area. Its output will allow Corn Belt and other rural electric cooperatives to meet the future needs of their customers.

For demonstrating cleaner burning uses of Illinois coal, Corn Belt will receive about $25 million in subsidies from the state, including a grant of $23 million from the Illinois Coal and Energy Development Bond Fund, administered by the Illinois Department of Commerce and Community Affairs. The state’s share of the funds will come from the on-going Coal Demonstration Program.

In addition to the grants issued by DCCA, the project will receive $25 million from the U.S. Department of Energy Clean Low Emission Boiler System Program and has been awarded $2 million by the Illinois Clean Coal Review Board through Southern Illinois University at Carbondale.

“Through the support of Governor Ryan, Congressman Ray LaHood and many others, Illinois will be able to demonstrate some of the newest and best technology available to burn Illinois coal in an environmentally friendly way, while at the same time creating Illinois coal mining jobs,” said Michael Murphy, chief of DCCA’s Office of Coal Development.

“We are also optimistic that, despite the current economic downturn, several other large-scale coal plant projects are moving ahead under the ‘Power to Compete’ incentive program enacted in 2001,” Murphy said.


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