In its last item of business before a new General Assembly took office today, the Illinois Senate rejected—for the second time since last week—a bill that would have procured $3.5 billion from ratepayers for the construction of Tenaska’s Taylorville Energy Center, an integrated gasification combined cycle power (IGCC) plant proposed for central Illinois. The vote puts the future of the controversial coal-fired plant in doubt.
Senators voted 18-33 to reject the measure early this morning. The bill received seven fewer votes than the proposal received last week, when it failed to get enough votes for passage. The Senate vote on SB 2485 came after the favorable vote on Nov. 29 in the Illinois House of Representatives.
It was unclear what the failure of the bill means for the 602-MW project, which would have integrated IGCC technology with carbon capture and storage. With a new General Assembly session starting today, it could take months or years for the legislation to wind up for another vote.
Officials with Nebraska-based Tenaska had reportedly said they would likely drop plans for the plant if the measure didn’t win approval by Tuesday. Calling the Senate’s failure to pass the legislation “disappointing,” Tenaska Vice President Bart Ford today said the company was still evaluating its next course of action.
“We believe that there is a great deal of support in Illinois for the idea of clean coal power,” he added. “Throughout the legislative process, we challenged opponents of the legislation to explain how a cutting-edge, baseload project like [Taylorville] could be built without legislation of the type that we proposed. We renew that challenge now, with the hope that Illinois will not give up on using its most abundant resource to generate power cleanly.”