Illinois Gov. Blagojevich has signed into law SB 1987, the Clean Coal Portfolio Standard, boosting the prospects for Tenaska 's IGCC plant in Taylorville, Ill. Due to the content of the legislation and the potential carbon capture and storage attributes of the IGCC plant, the need for the plant is no longer driven exclusively by the extent which further electricity is needed in the region. Rather, as a result of the legislation, demand for the IGCC plant, and plants like it, will come from the other, conventional coal-fired power plants.  

The legislation requires covered utilities (in short, electric utilities that, as of December 31, 2005, serviced at least 100,000 customers in the state) to enter into contracts to obtain at least 5 percent of their supply from facilities employing CCS according to specified parameters. The bill defines “clean coal facilities” in part as those scheduled to begin operations before 2016 which capture and sequester at least 50 percent of total carbon emissions; for facilities scheduled to begin operations after 2017, at least 90 percent of total carbon emissions must be captured and sequestered to qualify. Facilities failing to meet these targets in operation do not lose their status as clean coal facilities, but must offset to account for any shortcomings and may not pass on the costs of any offsets to customers. Further, any facility’s sequestration requirements may be specifically enforced by the state attorney general.

Furthermore, Tenaska's IGCC plant may be the "initial clean coal facility" contemplated by the legislation. If so, each covered electric utility would execute a sourcing agreement for at least 5 percent of each utility’s total supply to serve its load of eligible retail customers in 2015 and each subsequent year, pursuant to a procurement plan to be developed by the covered utility.

In addition, the legislation creates the Illinois Power Agency and empowers it to develop, finance, construct, or operate electric generation and co-generation facilities; any such facility using coal must meet the definition of “clean coal facility” noted above and be constructed in a location suitable for geologic storage. The Agency may also develop, finance, construct, or operate the “sequestration facility” itself.

To view the bill, go to:

http://www.ilga.gov/legislation/publicacts/95/PDF/095-1027.pdf