Thursday, April 02, 2009 By Aaron Brown
- Who's going to buy the power?
- How are you going to capture the carbon in an economically viable way?
- Is the immense public cost and risk worth the slim chance of a viable project when all is said and done?
Wayne Nelson, editor of Business North and hardly an environmental radical, writes an editorial about Excelsior that also focuses on these three questions. He is skeptical:
It's all about the politics. And frankly there are more votes to get in Illinois and western Indiana than there are here. The only reason the Iron Range is a part of this conversation is that our leaders were willing to gamble a vast amount of money on a promise and the media agreed to ignore these three questions. Let's learn from that.
So far, public financing support for this project has increased in direct proportion to the questions about its viability.
According to speculative stories, it wouldn’t be the only one in pursuit of the federal stimulus money. Both the Washington Post and New York Times have reported that FutureGen, a clean coal project in southern Illinois — the president’s home state — is the inside favorite for the $1 billion allocation in the stimulus law for fossil energy and research development.
Put simply, Mesaba Energy and FutureGen are politically-driven projects.Anyone want to bet on the outcome if these clean coal projects go head to head for that money? How ironic.
Check out the story and full editorial.