Aug
13

Project That Would Have Raised Chicagoland Gas Rates Nixed

August 13, 2012

Illinois Governor Pat Quinn has vetoed a bill that would have financially affected metro Chicago real estate dwellers.

The Chicago Clean Energy project proposed the construction of a coal gasification plant on Chicago’s South Side that would convert coal into gas.

The project was expected to add billions of dollars to our state’s economy, create more than 2,000 jobs and advance Illinois’ energy technology through an environmentally advanced chemical process that would produce substitute natural gas from Illinois coal through the cleanest method used anywhere in the world.

Sounds great. But for the plan to come to fruition, Nicor and downstate Ameren were required to sign 30-year contracts to buy natural gas from this Chicago “clean coal” plant, and it would be those utility company’s customers that would be responsible for covering nearly all the $3 billion in costs it would take to build and maintain the plant.

Governor Quinn said no. Upon vetoing the plan, he noted that when the plant was first proposed, four Illinois utility companies were supposed to be involved, but two of the groups opted out, leaving Nicor and Ameren to pay for 95 percent of the project while investing in only 84 percent of the gas.

“That is not a fair deal for ratepayers,” said Gov. Quinn. “I support the Chicago Clean Energy project, but it must be implemented in a way that protects the consumers of Illinois.”

Quinn also pointed out that current natural gas prices are at historic lows and could remain there for years to come. Still, the governor urged the submission of “a better bill that would enable this project to move forward.” Not sure if that’s going to happen, however.

“We are deeply disappointed in the governor’s decision,” is the message on the Chicago Clean Energy website. “We know that this $3 billion investment in Illinois was good for the state’s economy, its environment, its workers and its consumers. While we find the governor’s decision unfortunate, we look forward to continuing our work at our other facilities throughout the country.”

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Tracey

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