On June 12, Secretary of Energy Steven Chu announced a public-private partnership with the FutureGen Alliance to advance plans to build the nation’s first commercial coal gasification and carbon capture and storage (CCS) project in Mattoon, Illinois. The agreement spearheads efforts between the federal agency and coal and utility companies to research technology, costs, and funding mechanisms for the construction of the integrated CCS facility. "This important step forward for FutureGen reflects this Administration’s commitment to rapidly developing carbon capture and sequestration technology as part of a comprehensive plan to create jobs, develop clean energy and reduce climate change pollution,” stated Secretary Chu. The plan, which is anticipated to receive just over $1 billion in initial federal stimulus funding, will be reevaluated again in 2010 to determine whether the project will move forward based on research and cost estimates.
CCS technology involves the ‘capture’ of carbon dioxide emissions from stationary sources like fossil fuel plants and the ‘storage’ of carbon dioxide in secure underground reservoirs. The technology has yet to be proven effective on a large scale and for long periods of time and also faces high deployment costs. The current plan calls for an initial carbon capture goal of 60 percent that can be scaled up to 90 percent. In 2003, the Bush administration had set a 90 percent carbon capture goal, before plans were rescinded five years later.