Benefits of Chicago Clean Energy Project Are Diverse and Wide-Reaching
$3 billion investment provides economic boom, job creation and energy diversification for Illinois
CHICAGO, Aug. 7, 2012 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Chicago Clean Energy, a $3 billion state-of-the-art gasification project proposed for Chicago's Southeast Side, will provide a huge economic boom for Illinois, creating jobs and making strides and advancements in energy technology. Senate Bill 3766, which will allow the project to advance, currently sits on Governor Quinn's desk awaiting his approval. The Governor has until August 10 to take action.
The Chicago Clean Energy project is expected to create more than $10 billion in economic output for Illinois and an estimated $1.25 billion in added state and local tax revenue. This includes more than 1,100 construction jobs over three years, 200 permanent, high-paying jobs on-site, more than 150 coal-related jobs downstate, generating more than 700 jobs in related businesses.
"Workers across the state need this project, and we are urging Governor Quinn to bring it to Illinois," said Tom Villanova, president of the Chicago and Cook County Building Trades. "I can't see any reason for passing on a $3 billion private investment that will create this much economic opportunity and so many great jobs for our struggling state."
"This project will create direct and indirect permanent jobs across Illinois, including permanent jobs in the coal industry," said Phil Gonet, president of the Illinois Coal Association. "An investment this innovative and this significant would put Illinois on the map as a leader in foresight and energy diversification."
The project is targeting 15 percent of the prime construction contracts associated with the $3 billion project to be awarded to minority-owned and female-owned businesses and businesses owned by persons with disabilities.
"This project represents Illinois' future, and we hope to be a part of it," said Larry Huggins, past vice president of Black Contractors United. "We see only upside to this innovative project that will allow us to put people back to work in a cutting-edge, clean energy industry."
The Chicago Clean Energy project has been vetted by the State of Illinois over a five-year process, during which time the Governor already has signed four pieces of legislation, each of which passed both chambers of the Illinois General Assembly by wide margins, with strong statewide support from both political parties.
"There is great momentum moving our business and technology communities forward," said Ted Stalnos, president of the Calumet Area Industrial Commission. "We need to continue that trend and move the Chicago Clean Energy project forward."
Illinois consumers will experience significant benefits from the project. It will offer unmatched protections to consumers, including a guaranteed $100 million in savings over the life of the project for ratepayers and an innovative revenue sharing system that will provide additional cost savings to consumers. State law also includes a 2 percent annual rate cap to protect against any rate increase – the same structure that governs wind and solar projects in the state – and a $1.5 billion consumer protection reserve account that were both added as a result of feedback from Governor Quinn and consumer advocates.
"Working with Governor Quinn, the Citizens Utility Board and others, we were able to include a number of protections in the project's authorizing legislation when it was approved in 2011," said Hoyt Hudson, project manager for Chicago Clean Energy. "The project's success is tied directly to producing savings for consumers."
The Chicago Clean Energy technology uses a chemical process – without burning coal or other feedstock – to produce substitute natural gas and capture and remove impurities. Removing the component elements like sulfur, argon, and mercury is essential to producing the substitute natural gas. These additional products can be safely reused in construction, agriculture and manufacturing, or safely disposed of, rather than being released.
"The Chicago Clean Energy project is a win-win for our community," said Sandra Patterson, president of the Cottage Grove Heights Community Coalition. "This major investment will clean up a contaminated area, create jobs and bring a cutting-edge, environmentally advanced energy technology right to our backyard. I fully support the Chicago Clean Energy project and hope Governor Quinn will too."
Chicago Clean Energy will pursue one of the most stringent air permits ever issued for an energy facility and will enable the clean-up of an existing 140-acre brownfield site, pending approval of the Senate Bill now before Governor Quinn.
"We agree it's time to find new, cleaner ways to generate energy for our state's economy," said Hudson. "Gasification not only limits emissions as part of the actual process, but it also turns potential pollutants into profits, which are shared with consumers. The Chicago Clean Energy project represents a new chapter in the Illinois history book."
About Chicago Clean Energy
Chicago Clean Energy is an initiative of Leucadia National Corporation (NYSE: LUK) that supports the $3 billion investment in green technology on the Southeast side of Chicago. The gasification facility to be located at 115th Street and Burley Avenue will produce substitute natural gas through the cleanest method of utilizing Illinois coal anywhere in the world. For more information, please visit www.chicagocleanenergy.com.
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