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Lawmakers approve clean coal projects bill
Associated Press
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Published: 11/21/2008 12:02 AM

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SPRINGFIELD _ Illinois lawmakers agreed Thursday to aid development of two "clean coal" projects, including a proposed $2.5 billion power plant near Taylorville.

Under legislation sent to the governor's desk, Illinois would require utilities to buy some of their electricity from the plant, creating a stable market. Illinois also would provide up to $18 million for the planning and studies needed before the Taylorville plant can go forward.

If studies indicate consumers might be hit by sharp increases in electric rates, the Legislature could block the project from going ahead.

The legislation would also require more power companies to meet the state's goal of producing 25 percent of energy from renewable sources by 2025.

The Taylorville Energy Center, located about 30 miles southeast of Springfield, would burn Illinois coal, which has lost much of the market to cleaner-burning coal from other regions. The plant would capture half the carbon that's usually released into the air.

Tenaska, the Nebraska-based company interested in building the plant, estimates it would create 1,500 construction jobs, along with hundreds of mining and plant operation jobs.

Another proposed plant, in Decatur, also stands to benefit from the legislation. This plant would convert coal into a gas that can be burned cleanly.

The state Senate approved the measure 53-0. It overwhelmingly passed the House back in July.