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FutureGen land near Mattoon sold

Published: Friday, Jan. 27, 2012 12:29 p.m. CST

Land in Mattoon to be used as the site for the original FutureGen project will be sold to an economic development group in Coles County.

The group, Coles Together, is in the preliminary stages of pursuing opportunities for site development, said Angela Griffin, president of Coles Together.

“I’d like to think we’re still partners with 1/8the FutureGen Alliance3/8 in pursuing clean energy projects for Illinois and the country,” she said. “It’s bittersweet, but it’s positive for our community that we have local ownership and control, especially given the site’s outstanding characteristics.”

The original project — to build a state-of-the-art power plant in Mattoon — was eliminated due to cost overruns. FutureGen 2.0 will retrofit a power plant in Meredosia and pipe carbon dioxide emissions underground in northeastern Morgan County.

The land was sold back for $700,000 after being purchased at $3.5 million — a price agreed upon because the FutureGen Alliance wanted to move quickly to redirect funds to Morgan County, said Lawrence Pacheco, spokesman for the FutureGen Alliance.

The deal also puts Coles Together in a better position financially and legally to develop the site for other purposes, Pacheco said.

The community made sizable investments to the original project, including an additional $3 million to help move it forward, Griffin said.

“Coles County has been a great partner,” Pacheco said. “This is good news for them, good news for Morgan County and good news for FutureGen 2.0.”

Griffin said she hopes Illinois can be known for its support in energy projects, as it has the coal, oil, gas and infrastructure to do so.

“Because the state has been forward thinking, those of us at the local level trying to attract these kinds of projects are several years ahead,” she said.

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©2012 the Jacksonville Journal-Courier (Jacksonville, Ill.)

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