|August 26, 2009|
Illinois Passes Law Expanding Financing For Clean Coal, Coal and Renewable Energy Projects
On July 29, 2009, Illinois Governor Pat Quinn approved Public Act 96-0103, which amends the Illinois Finance Authority Act ("Act"). The new law provides a state-backed guarantee for the construction of renewable energy and clean coal projects. The new law broadens the Illinois Finance Authority's ("IFA") bonding authority, allowing IFA to make up to $3 billion available to finance clean coal, coal and renewable energy projects.
Previously, the Act only authorized funding for "clean coal energy projects." These projects, now called "coal projects," remain eligible for funding under the amended Act, and include: new electric generating facilities or new gasification facilities, as defined in Section 605-332 of the Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity Law of the Civil Administrative Code of Illinois, which may include mine-mouth power plants; projects that employ the use of clean coal technology; projects to provide scrubber technology for existing energy generating plants; and projects to provide electric transmission facilities or new gasification facilities. Pub. Act 96-0103 ý 825-65(b)(ii).
The new law also authorizes funding for "clean coal projects," which include: clean coal facilities; clean coal synthetic natural gas facilities as defined by the Illinois Power Agency Act; for eligible projects, transmission lines and associated equipment that transfer electricity from points of supply to points of delivery; for eligible projects, pipelines or other methods to transfer carbon dioxide from the point of production to the point of storage or sequestration; and projects to provide carbon abatement technology for existing generating facilities. Pub. Act 96-0103 ý 825-65(b)(i).
Finally, the new law authorizes funding for renewable energy projects, which include: projects that use renewable energy resources as defined in the Illinois Power Agency Act; projects that use environmentally preferable technologies and practices that result in improvements to the production of renewable fuels, including cellulosic conversion, water and energy conservation, fractionation, alternative feedstocks, or reduced green house gas emissions; for eligible projects, transmission lines and associated equipment that transfer electricity from points of supply to points of delivery; and projects that use technology for the storage of renewable energy, including, without limitation, the use of battery or electrochemical storage technology for mobile or stationary applications. Pub. Act 96-0103 ý 825-65(b)(iii).
In addition to expanding the IFA's bonding authority, Pub. Act 96-0103 encourages biofuel development by expanding IFA's loan guarantee to agricultural businesses from $75 million to $225 million.
The new law clarifies IFA's authority under the Act and demonstrates an increased commitment on the part of Illinois to fund and incentivize clean coal and renewable energy development. The effective date of the new law is January 1, 2010.
For questions regarding this Environmental Update, please contact any of the attorneys in Schiff Hardin's Environmental Group.
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