Tenaska, Inc. is planning to build the largest new source of carbon dioxide in Illinois near Taylorville. The 630MW coal fired power plant, as currently planned, would add approximately four million tons of carbon dioxide to Illinois’ carbon dioxide emissions annually, the same amount of global warming pollution as 500,000 cars, per year for each of the next fifty years.
Governor Blagojevich has set a statewide goal of reducing global warming pollution to 60% below 1990 levels by 2050 - the level that science tells us we must reach to slow global warming. Renewable energy and energy efficiency programs will be a major part of this strategy. Illinois coal can also be a part of the solution if new plants are linked to major reductions in greenhouse gas emissions. Last year in Springfield, just up the road from Taylorville, City Water Light and Power (CWLP) was planning to build a 200MW power plant for their city customers. We worked with CWLP to forge an agreement to offset the plant’s carbon dioxide emissions through a creative package of programs, including purchasing 120MW of wind power, and investing $400,000 into a city wide energy efficiency program.
So far, this has not been the case with the Tenaska project. Tenaska does not have a plan to deal with the massive increases in global warming pollution that would come from their plant. Such a plan could include offsetting carbon emissions through retiring existing, dirtier plants, investing in renewables or efficiency, or potentially sequestering their carbon underground, although there are still many questions about the viability of carbon sequestration.
Tenaska could be a part of the solution, and put forward a plan that gives Illinois and the planet less, not millions of tons more, carbon dioxide. We are willing to work with them to develop such a plan. If Springfield and their local utility can do it, surely a large corporation like Tenaska can do it.