Compiled by Evan F. Moore
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 Friday,August 10 to take action.
Tom Villanova, president of the Chicago and Cook County Building Trades believes that the Chicago Clean Energy project will help the state’s struggling economy. “Workers across the state need this project, and we are urging Governor Quinn to bring it to Illinois,” Villanova said. “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.”
The project is targeting 15 percent of the prime construction contracts associated with the $3 billion project 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.
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.”
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.
“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.”